Ignoring B S Yeddyurappa is not an option available for the BJP

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In another week the Karnataka BJP will have a new president. The coveted post is a much spoken about one considering the fact the the BJP's strongest leader in the state, B S Yeddyurappa is a front runner.

While there are other names in circulation too, a majority in the party feel that he should be made the President or at least told that he would lead the campaign in the next assembly elections.

BJP cannot ignore Yeddyurappa

The BJP is in with some choices. The Party's leadership will tread very carefully on this issue and will ensure that at no cost Yeddyurappa is ignored. His strength among the masses of Karnataka is still intact and this one got to witness during the Raitha Chaitanya Yatra which was organised.

This yatra was held to protest against the farmer suicides and the inaction by the state government. The entire programme gained a boost only after Yeddyurappa jumped into the fray and this was an indicator that his mass support was intact.

Now coming back to the point of the choices before Amit Shah, the party's national chief who will take a decision by this week. He has been given a few choices such as C T Ravi, Nalin Kumar Kateel, R Ashok or even with the option of giving Prahlad Joshi a second term.

Why Yeddyurappa cannot be ignored

There are many within the BJP who are opposed to the idea of Yeddyurappa being made the party chief in Karnataka. While they may sulk if he is made the chief, deep within they too accept that there is not only single leader in the state who is capable to leading the party to a victory in the state.

However, for Yeddyurappa there is just one problem. These are to do with his cases. While he has been given a breather in almost all cases filed against him, there is one case with regard to the CBI investigation into the mining scam which continues to haunt him.

In the other cases which were filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, he has been given relief by the courts. While in one case the Supreme Court refused to interfere and vacate the stay given by the Karnataka High Court, in the others the cases have been struck down.

The BJP does have the pending cases on the back of its mind and this could just be a bit of a deterrent. The BJP could however argue that the case is still pending and the post being offered to him is of a party and not a government appointment.

What if Yeddyurappa is not made the President

Now this brings us to the question as to what would happen if the BJP does not give him the post of President on the basis of the cases pending against him. The option being discussed is to make a Yeddyurappa loyalist a President. This would mean the BJP would have a de-facto president with Yeddyurappa being the proxy.

However, Yeddyurappa will not settle for this as he is clear that he will not accept anything less than the post of President. The BJP clearly cannot ignore him. As one senior leader in the party puts it, Yeddyurappa has the mass support. Individuals do not win you elections. It is the masses."

The only other option that the BJP has if they decide against making Yeddyurappa the President is to assure him that he would lead the assembly elections. After the manner in which he was handled the last time he was Chief Minister, the trust factor from Yeddyurappa's side is not particularly high.

However, there is a change in the Party's structure. Yeddyurappa does trust both Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and this could well do the trick.

The long and short of it is that the BJP cannot ignore Yeddyurappa at any cost. They need to strike a balance. On one hand they need to show that they will not hand over a post to a person who has cases pending against him as Modi has adopted a no-corruption policy.

On the other the BJP needs to bounce back and for this they have only Yeddyurappa who can lead the party to a victory in the state.

It is a very tricky situation for the BJP. Will they make him the President or have in place a de-facto? Sources say that if nothing works out, they may just give Joshi a second term as he is considered to be a non-controversial candidate who is not a strong part of any camp in the party.

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