New Delhi: Ahead of crucial Legislative Assembly polls, Bharatiya Janata Party is facing peculiar trouble in Karnataka and Rajasthan as former Chief Ministers BS Yediyurappa and Vasundhara Raje have sought suitable positions in the saffron unit for their respective sons.
Yediyurappa is understood to have demanded a deputy chief ministerial post in Karnataka for his son Vijayendra, who is considered to be his anointed political heir. While Vasundhara is learnt to have sought a position in the Central Cabinet for her son Dushyant Singh.
Sources stated that the BJP, which has portrayed itself as being a party with a change and having no place for dynastic politics, is facing a major problem as the party tries to accommodate these demands from the senior leaders.
The party leadership doesn't want to anger the two leaders who have a lot of clout amongst party cadres and voters in their respective states and can definitely turn things ugly for the BJP if they aren't kept in good humour, sources said.
The party is expected to have a detailed discussion on the issue and a decision on its future course of action is likely soon. The saffron unit is expected to have a soft stance on the issue and the two could be asked to deliver these states before their demands are met, sources said.
The saffron front is treading carefully as the BJP wants to make a comeback in its southern Indian bastion as well as to regain the desert state from Congress in the 2023 Assembly polls. The return to power in Karnataka and Rajasthan will be crucial as the party plans to expand its footprint in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Interestingly, the BJP has already decided not to repeat the mistake of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls campaign in these two states. The saffron unit has decided to seek the involvement of the two former chief ministers for the forthcoming election.
In an indication of confidence in his leadership and Yediyurappa’s larger role in the 2023 Assembly polls and 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the Central leadership of the BJP had recently inducted him into the highest decision-making bodies of the saffron unit, the parliamentary board and the central election committee. While Vasundhara, apart from being the vice president of the BJP, has been interacting regularly with the top leadership, including party chief JP Nadda, as part of strategy evolution ahead of polls.
While Yediyurappa is considered to be the face of the BJP in Karnataka, a similar stature is enjoyed by Vasundhara in Rajasthan. The two leaders are also expected to play a big part in the ticket distribution and finalization of candidates and are now learnt to be regularly briefing the top central leadership on state affairs, sources said.
Sources pointed out that this development was in contrast to the complete sidelining of the Himachal strongman Prem Kumar Dhumal during the party's last year loss in the North Indian state.
Party feels that the non-utilization of Prem Kumar Dhumal in Himachal cost the saffron front several seats. If the party had taken him into confidence and used his experience in strategy finalization and candidate selection it would have helped the BJP. The saffron unit now wants to avoid such mistakes, sources said.
The 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly is set to go to polls soon. Karnataka was the first state to have elected a BJP government in South India and is considered to be immensely important for the BJP which plans to expand its base in southern India.
While Rajasthan goes to polls later this year, in the 2018 Assembly polls, Congress was able to scrape through by securing 100 seats in the 200-member Assembly. While the BJP came second at 75 seats. The saffron front blames the lack of cohesion with the Vasundhara faction for the 2018 Assembly polls defeat, which it wants to avoid at any cost as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to seek his third term.