Yediyurappa appointed to top BJP panel ahead of Karnataka polls, Bommai dropped

A crucial meeting of the BJP office-bearers will be held on Thursday in Bengaluru where plans for the party’s campaign will be on the table.

Shankar RajUpdated: Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 10:59 PM IST
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Yediyurappa appointed to top BJP panel ahead of Karnataka polls, Bommai dropped | File Photo

Bengaluru: Just eight months ahead of the Assembly elections, a worried BJP leadership in Delhi has dumped Basavaraj Bommai and has decided to face the polls under a collective leadership, top sources in the BJP said.

What is more significant is the comeback of former CM and Lingayat strongman BS Yediyurappa.

Till a month ago, Bommai was BJP’s poster boy. Even chief poll strategist and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had endorsed Bommai as the CM face and had categorically said that elections would be fought under the chief minister’s leadership. However, multiple factors including dark stains of corruption, scams and poor handling of the law and order situation seem to have pushed Bommai off the leadership chart.

The first hint of a change came when Shah met BJP strongman and top Lingayat leader Yediyurappa. Sources say that the former chief minister has suggested that the BJP should not bet on just one horse and opt for collective leadership, given the present loss of face under the Bommai administration.

BJP state general secretary N Ravikumar then threw a more specific hint saying “Certain structural changes to organization can be expected and seniors will get specific responsibilities so that the party can go to polls under a collective leadership.”

A crucial meeting of the BJP office-bearers will be held on Thursday in Bengaluru where plans for the party’s campaign will be on the table. The plan includes a state tour from August 21 under the collective leadership of Bommai, Yediyurappa and state BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel.

“It is a significant departure from the party’s original strategy that focused on highlighting the Bommai government’s performance. Under the new strategy, the party will present both the government’s performance and project top leaders in the party,” a top leader was quoted in the media.

Rajya Sabha member Lahar Singh Siroya too had backed a collective leadership. They were of the view that no leader had grown big enough to fill Yediyurappa’s shoes.

“Going to polls under a collective leadership is in the interest of the party as the theme of the campaign will appeal to a wide section of society and many communities,” said Siroya.

Meanwhile, in an embarrassment for Bommai, senior minister B Sriramuluon Tuesday said that he, too, like many others, wants to see Congress stalwart Siddaramaiah become the state’s CM again. “We criticise each other only for political reasons, and there’s nothing personal here (in the slugfest). We are good friends… I’m not afraid of making this statement because I’m not a slave to anyone. ”

However, Siddaramaiah said he doesn’t want to attach any importance to the statement while refusing to read it in the context of approaching assembly elections.

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