Senior leaders back Yeddyurappa; miffed Eshwarappa walks out

The solid backing of Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa by senior party leaders such as Union Minister Ananth Kumar has left senior colleague K S Eshwarappa red-faced

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The rift in the Karnataka BJP is only going from bad to worse. The BJP's state executive meet being held in Kalburgi was aimed at addressing fissures developing gin the BJP but did very little to sort the differences between leaders. The solid backing that B S Yeddyurappa received from senior leaders of the party including Union Minister Anant Kumar left K S Eshwarappa red-faced. The BJP MLC left the venue soon after a discussion under the leadership of state BJP in-charge Muralidhar Rao came to an end.

BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa.

According to party sources from the meet, the discussion centred around the need for unity at a time when Karnataka is going to polls in 2018. State in-charge Muralidhar Rao is said to have conveyed to the party cadre that the senior leadership is firmly standing by Yeddyurappa and are banking on him to take BJP to victory in the state.

The discussion that lasts for an hour or so dwelt on the contributions of Yeddyurappa to the party and how dissent against the state president being voiced in public will not be appreciated. Rao's strong words come days after K S Eshwarappa told media that people will not vote for Yeddyurappa's face alone.

Sources also added that Rao made it clear that any public criticisms of the state chief, which is a party functionary post, will be considered as anti-party activity and suitable action will be taken. While not naming any leader, the senior party functionary made sure his message reached the right people. Eshwarappa walked out of the venue soon after the meeting concluded raising eyebrows.

The state executive meet was inaugurated on Saturday and saw all leaders, including those rebelling against Yeddyurappa, take part. Despite sharing the dais all throughout the inauguration ceremony, Yeddyurappa and K S Eshwarappa refused to see eye to eye or even acknowledge each other. The discomfort between the two leaders was evident.

With the party's senior functionaries making their stance clear, it is now for Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa to bury the hatchet before the crackdown by the high command.

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