Bengaluru: Karnataka BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa, the party's presumptive chief minister, has insisted that his son being dropped as a candidate for the May 12 state election was his decision. Speaking for the first time on his disappointment, Mr Yeddyurappa's son BY Vijayendra has revealed that his father "received a call and then instructed me" not to file nomination papers.
"(On April 23) My father received a call and said we should not file the nomination. He instructed me around 11 am, don't file your nomination. I finished the function and came back. I never asked anything," Mr Vijayendra told NDTV. The day his nomination was nixed, BJP workers protested at a Mysuru hotel where Yeddyurappa and his son were camping, and also broke chairs. The drama continued overnight, on to the next day, which was the deadline for nominations.
On whether he thought the decision was taken at the highest level of the party, Vijayendra hesitated.
"I am not sure. I never bothered to ask father. From there onwards we had to move on, I never asked him who called," he said.
Vijayendra spent weeks campaigning in Varuna in Mysuru, where it had been widely assumed that he would be the BJP's candidate against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's son, the Congress nominee in the battle of the next generation.
"More than shock, I was hurt, not because I was denied a ticket but only for the Congress workers who had joined the BJP. Many were supporting me."
BJP leaders in Karnataka say the party took the risk of angering its chief ministerial candidate by not fielding his son so its "dynasty" attacks on Congress president Rahul Gandhi would not be dulled when Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned in the state. As PM Modi addressed the first in a blitz of rallies last week, he did stress on a naamdaar (dynastic leaders) versus kaamdaar (workers) theme.
That "might be" the reason, said Vijayendra. "The PM did mention it in a public rally... the Gandhi family."
He emphatically denied that he was dropped as a strategy to sideline his 75-year-old father; speculation has been swirling as the party faces accusations from the ruling Congress of overlooking corruption charges against Yeddyurappa. At 75, the former chief minister has also technically reached the BJP's cut-off age for active politics.
"Yeddyurappa has full backing of the BJP, he will serve five years," said Vijayendra.