Prodigal Son? Permanent Guest? Eternal Rebel? BSY Has All The Three Options Before Him
Yeddyurappa has dropped broad hints that he may not be averse to be a partner of NDA. “I will take a call of aligning with some party based on national mood. I will go with the stream. My sole concern is Karnataka’s interest and nothing else,” he told Uday India
Ever since Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was made the chairman of the BJP’s election campaign committee, there has been a buzz in Karnataka political circles about the possible re-entry of former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa into the BJP. There are two reasons- one positive and another negative- for this kind of speculation to gain credibility.
The first is that Modi was not too happy about the exit of Yeddyurappa from the party as the former considers the latter as mass leader with clout over the politically-influential Lingayat community. With his elevation as chairman of the campaign committee, it would become all the more imperative to have BSY on his right side in order to win maximum number of seats in the Lok Sabha elections.
The second reason is that with senior BJP leader LK Advani, who was against continuation of Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister, having been over-looked in anointing Modi at Goa conclave, it looks like that BSY’s entry into BJP would be more easy.
Both the reasons are not without logic. It is true that Modi is keen to have BSY back in the party. It may be pertinent to mention that Gujarat Chief Minister did not mention BSY’s name in any of the four public meetings which he addressed during the May 2013 Assembly elections. BSY too has expressed many times that Modi was the only mass and charismatic leader with pan-India reach and clout who can infuse dynamism in
the party’s cadre and give the much-needed new dimension and fillip to Indian politics.
All said and done, it is still not easy or rather almost impossible for BSY to be seen in BJP again.
Firstly, the BJP has antagonised Advani too much on the issue of elevating Modi to the national level. The party patriarch has not been able to digest the hard fact and harsh reality that the BJP which he nursed and nourished could take such a big decision without his presence. It would be like rubbing salt into the already bruised wounds of Advani, if the party read Modi approaches BSY asking him to rejoin the party.
Advani recently pushed the BJP to the brink of a precipice by resigning from all three posts he held as member of parliamentary board, poll panel and member of the national executive. However, he relented when RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat adopted, what could be described as “gentle coercion” to make the 86-year-old patriarch stay put in the BJP. The assurance given by Rajnath Singh, the BJP president, is that the party would consult Advani on all matters relating to its functioning and not to announce the PM candidate without his consent.
In this situation, it would be difficult for the BJP to recall Yeddyurappa, especially when it is too obvious that Advani would oppose the re-entry of the Lingayat strongman. Or, if Advani agrees to take back Yeddyurappa on the ground of being “pragmatism” instead of “principles”, then it is possible for the former Chief Minister to be seen back in the BJP. But it is easier said than done because Advani is seen as having lost his face after the “hara-kiri” he committed by resigning and withdrawing within 36 hours. So, he may not commit another mistake of recalling Yeddyurappa or allowing his re-entry, that would further damage his image.
More than anything else, Advani’s sancho panza, Ananth Kumar will do everything that is humanly possible and any and every means to stall Yeddyurappa’s re-entry into the BJP. As of now, it is Ananth Kumar who exercise total and complete control over the Karnataka BJP and would not like to lose this grip. Yeddyurappa’s return will ensure shift in the power centre which Ananth Kumar does not like to happen.
On his part Yeddyurappa, too has made some harsh comments against the BJP and has categorically told too many times that he would not re-join his erstwhile party “at any cost.” It would be too embarrassing for him to go back after having taken a stand.
The state BJP is clever in its stance. Prahlad Joshi, state unit chief said, “Yeddyurappa has quit the party on his own. We did not suspend or expel him. If he wants to return, then it is for the high command to take a call. I will tell my opinion to my party central leadership and will not discuss in the media.”
But at the same time, Yeddyurappa has dropped broad hints that he may not be averse to be a partner of NDA. “I will take a call of aligning with some party based on national mood. I will go with the stream. My sole concern is Karnataka’s interest and nothing else,” he told talking to Uday India. He also praised Narendra Modi for his dynamic and charismatic leadership besides being a task-master and able administrator.
“BJP has done a wise thing by anointing Modi as its election campaign committee chairman. It was long overdue,” he said.
Yet another important reason why Yeddyurappa hesitates to merge his party KJP with BJP and be a part of his erstwhile party is the history of the BJP which has not been kind and cordial to those who have re-joined after quitting for one reason or the other. Take the instances of Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Virendra Kumar Saklecha, Madan Lal Khurana and Arif Baig (not chief minister but one of the prominent leaders).
None of the above mentioned leaders were treated with dignity and respect making them regret after having returned to their parent party. Uma Bharti may have been made the national vice president, but everyone is aware of her struggle to get that post. Though she may have got some post, the dignity and respect are yet to come. “A progidal son is always looked with pretensions and askance,” a senior party leader confided.
Yeddyurappa is aware of this hard fact and harsh reality. It is this reason also which has made him apprehensive about re-joining the BJP.
But at the same time, joining NDA as its partner will enable him to retain his stance and get significant electoral benefits. By helping the BJP to win maximum number of seats, Yeddyurappa can attain a commanding position, both in politics as well as in the NDA government. Coming of Narendra Modi in the coming days will be interesting.
By S A Hemantha Kumar from Bengaluru