After Freeze-Out On Stage, BS Yeddyurappa's Rival Says 'We Have Spoken'

At a BJP meeting over the weekend, two senior leaders of the BJP whose rivalry had caught a worrying momentum for the party ignored each other while appearing on the same stage in Mysuru. Today, one of them, KS Eshwarappa, said the two-day meeting has ended his hostility with BS Yeddyurappa.

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After Freeze-Out On Stage, BS Yeddyurappa's Rival Says 'We Have Spoken'

BS Yeddyurappa is the BJP's presumptive Chief Minister.

Highlights

  1. Ahead of Karnataka election, BJP sees infighting
  2. 2 big leaders, Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa, have clashed publicly
  3. Truce called on orders of BJP chief Amit Shah at weekend meet
At a BJP meeting over the weekend, two senior leaders of the BJP whose rivalry had caught a worrying momentum for the party ignored each other while appearing on the same stage in Mysuru. Today, one of them, KS Eshwarappa, said the two-day meeting has ended his hostility with BS Yeddyurappa.

"We are together. We were together during the state executive, we have spoken to each other and there is no confusion," said Mr Eshwarappa, averring, "we are working towards ensuring that the BJP comes to power in 2018."

With the Karnataka election due early next year, BJP chief Amit Shah has twice this year ordered Mr Eshwarappa and Mr Yeddyurappa to make nice. In January, he summoned them to Delhi. Last week, he sacked two members from each faction from party posts.

Mr Yeddyurappa is the BJP's presumptive Chief Minister. In 2011, he was forced to quit as Chief Minister because of corruption charges. The BJP, in fact, put up three Chief Ministers during its debut shot at running Karnataka and lost the election in 2013 to the Congress.

After an unsuccessful experiment at running his own party, Mr Yeddyurappa, 73, returned to the BJP and was promised top billing.  But Mr Eshwarappa and his faction allege that Mr Yeddyurappa, who commands the loyalty of the powerful and prosperous Lingayat community, has marginalized BJP loyalists and placed his own supporters in key positions. As a warning shot that he could not be taken for granted, Mr Eshwarappa in December formed what he describes as an apolitical front of backward castes and Dalits and scheduled conventions across the state. Mr Yeddyurappa then ordered BJP leaders to keep their distance from the forum, alleging that it was designed to undermine the BJP and did not have the approval of central party leaders like Mr Shah.

Given that the BJP lost two recent by-elections in Karnataka, its bosses have been working to bridge the gap between Mr Yeddyurappa and his rival, who derives his power as a leader of the Kuruba backward caste.

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