Bengaluru, Jan 19: We will not rest until BS Yeddyurappa mends his ways, was the cry at a meeting of BJP dissidents held at Tumkuru, about 70 km away from Bengaluru, on Wednesday. The meeting led by KS Eshwarappa sent out a message to their party state president, Yeddyurappa, to mend his ways, failing which they would not rest. Following their meet in Tumkur on Wednesday, 24 dissidents have been called for a meeting with B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday. In this meeting, the party hopes to address their concerns, however, K S Eshwarappa is not on the list of invitees.
Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa have been at loggerheads for a long time now. For the public consumption, it appears as though trouble broke out after Eshwarappa announced the Sangoli Rayanna Brigade. He claims that this group has the backing of religious heads.
Is it just about control over the party or is there more than what meets the eye? Is Eshwarappa signaling to the party leadership that he wants a change in constituency?
Yeddyurappa is the tallest leader among the Lingayat community, which forms a chunk of the vote bank in Karnataka. He enjoys the support of the national leadership 'today' as it is felt that he alone can bring the party back to power.
Going by Eshwarappa's statements it is clear that he is trying to send out a message to the leadership in Delhi that he too has the backing of religious leaders and also a good number of people on his side.
Will a change in constituency calm Eshwarappa?
In the 2013 Karnataka assembly elections, Eshwarappa's lost the Shivamogga constituency, then known as Shimoga, a prestigious seat. He was a minister both in the Yeddyurappa and Jagadish Shettar governments, apart from being the party's state president.
During the 2013 polls, Yeddyurappa had floated his own party, Karnataka Janata Paksha. This had a disastrous effect on the BJP which lost the elections badly. At that time, the Eshwarappa camp accused Yeddyurappa of ensuring that the former was defeated.
Yeddyurappa, who hails from Shivamogga as well, has a lot of control over the voters. Eshwarappa's faction felt that Yeddyurappa ensured that he was defeated.
The Karnataka Assembly elections to be held in 2018 would be a prestigious one for Yeddyurappa. He returned to the BJP and there is a lot that is riding on him. With acquittals in several cases up his sleeve, he is being seen as the only ray of hope for the party.
However, Eshwarappa, according to party insiders is uncomfortable. During the ticket distribution process, Yeddyurappa is likely to allocate Shivamogga again to him. The Eshwarappa camp feels that Yeddyurappa may ensure his defeat yet again this time.
Party insiders add that this is one of the main reasons why Eshwarappa may have floated the brigade. He wants to impress upon the leadership in Delhi that not just Yeddyurappa, but he too has a clout and religious backing of his own.
Putting out the numbers before the leadership would give him the bargaining power to select his own constituency. He feels that he has a fair chance of winning, if he is given a constituency other than Shivamogga.
He also realises that if he loses the polls in 2018, his career would be pretty much over as none would want to touch him even with a barge poll.