Yeddyurappa intensifies efforts to return to BJP

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New Delhi, Sept 18: Former BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa has intensified efforts to return to the party by sending his emissary to the national capital on Wednesday to meet senior leaders L K Advani, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley to build a consensus on merging his KJP with the saffron party.

Yeddyurappa, who had to resign from the post of Karnataka Chief Minister after he was indicted in a graft case by the Lokayukta, has shown his willingness to return to the BJP after Narendra Modi was made its prime ministerial candidate, party sources said.

He had quit BJP in December last year and floated the Karnataka Janata Party. The Lingayat leader is holding an executive meeting of KJP today where a resolution will be passed hailing Modi's anointment and stating that the party is open to merging with BJP if there is a consensus in the saffron party on the issue, the sources said.

Yeddyurappa has shown his willingness to return to the BJP.

Yeddyurappa has also deputed his close associate and MLC Lehar Singh to visit Delhi and meet senior BJP leaders. He is expected to meet Jaitley and has also sought an appointment with Advani, who was firmly opposed to Yeddyurappa's continuance in office after he was found guilty by the Lokayukta.

Lehar Singh is likely to meet BJP President Rajnath Singh late evening, the sources said. "If there is no consensus in the BJP central unit and among the BJP leaders in Karnataka on the issue, then Yeddyurappa is not willing to join. He has no immediate stakes as he is not going to become Chief Minister anytime soon.

BJP will gain more as the Lok Sabha polls are near," a KJP leader said. Yeddyurappa, who has reportedly kept a line of communication open with Modi in the last few months, wrote to the Chief Minister congratulating him on his anointment. Both BJP and KJP had performed badly in the Assembly elections earlier this year.

However, the sum total of their votes, as well as that of Sriramulu (an associate of mining barons Reddy brothers) remained the same. This led the two parties to agree that they would gain from returning to the BJP fold. But leaders like Advani and Ananth Kumar, Yeddyurappa's bete noire, are opposed to KJP's merger.

BJP sources said Ananth Kumar may soften his opposition to Yeddyurappa as he needs his support in the Lok Sabha elections. "Ananth Kumar may find it tough in the Bangalore South seat.

More so, if reports of Nandan Nilekani contesting from this seat on a Congress ticket are true," a party leader said. In the 2009 elections, Yeddyurappa had reluctantly lent his support to Ananth Kumar for the Bangalore South seat. Yeddyurappa is keen that all contentious issues of the past are sorted out and there is clarity on them before the merger takes place, KJP sources said.

Though politically his strength is much reduced after he walked out of the BJP, he does not want to face the same challenges within the party after his return. The former Chief Minister is, however, making all efforts to return to the BJP as he realises that this is beneficial for him in the long run.

So far, Modi and Rajnath Singh have not involved themselves with this issue though sources claimed they are keeping themselves abreast of the developments.

However, in case Advani and Ananth Kumar continue to oppose Yeddyurappa's return, the other option being explored is of making KJP a part of the NDA, sources said.

PTI

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