Bengaluru, Oct 15: It was meant to be a major event for the BJP. The party was inducting K Shivram, a retired IAS officer into the party in the presence of Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh.
While this event at the National College Grounds in Bengaluru was organised by B S Yeddyurappa, the absence of several other BJP leaders from the state raised questions as to whether there is a split in party or not.
Senior leaders such as K S Eshwarappa, Jagadish Shettar, R Ashok and Prahlad Joshi stayed away from the event. This raised eyebrows and questions as to whether the party in the state continues to remain united or not.
The other question that was raised was about the poor crowd. The crowd was not as strong as the other functions of the BJP held at the same venue. There was a murmur that the entire crowd were supporters of Shivram and not the one that usually takes part in a BJP event.
There was no official response from the leaders who stayed away from the event . All these leaders did make it to the hoardings behind the stage, but they were absent. K Shivram who joined the party had even told the media that if there are leaders who are unhappy with this development, then the senior leaders would look into the issue.
Prior to this event there was talk that Shivram was being brought into the party to checkmate Eshwarappa.
While the BJP hopes to capitalise on the SC votes through Shivram, this was also being seen as a move to checkmate K S Eshwarappa, who is trying to project himself as a leader of the backward community.
BJP says that the role of Shivram in the party would help the party to expand its base among the Dalits and backward community.
BJP insiders say that this was a move initiated by Karnataka BJP Chief, B S Yeddyurappa. It is a well known fact that the relation between Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa is nothing to tom-tom about. With Eshwarappa trying to be the champion of the Dalit cause, the move to bring in Shivram is being seen as a masterstroke by Yeddyurappa.