Amid fanfare, former union minister Basanagouda Patil Yatnal formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a function held at party headquarters in Bengaluru on Wednesday. BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa, MLC V Sommanna welcomed the leader. Also, JD(S) MLA Basavaraj Khuba, Nagappa Saaloni and another former union minister Basavaraj Patil Anwari joined the party.
Yatnal's joining the party was a much-awaited political development ahead of the assembly polls in Karnataka. His homecoming is considered as a boost to the saffron party in the North Karnataka region amid Lingayat-Veerashaiva religion issue raised by the Congress. Currently, Yatnal is an independent member of the legislative council.
Yeddyurappa said, "Many Congress, JDS leaders are in touch with me. Former Congress MLA Malikayya Guttedar has assured that he will formally join the party on April 8-9 and is all set to bring few more leaders to the BJP. "
"Yatnal and others joining the party BJP will definitely help BJP win 150 seats in the elections. Besides, we will win all the assembly seats in his home district Vijayapur (Bijapur)," Yeddyurappa said.
Supporters were brimming with joy for their leaders joining the party. Basanagouda Patil Yatnal's supporters hailed him as Hindu Huli (Tiger) of north Karnataka. They are relieved that their leader has a place in the saffron party.
Yatnal was in Janata Dal (Secular) for three years and quit the party as State general secretary in ahead of 2013 general election. Then speculations were rife that he would join the BJP sooner or later. Yatnal joined the party a month after he was invited by BJP national president Amit Shah to meet him in Delhi for talks, ahead of the assembly polls in the state.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|