New Delhi: With just months to go for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the Bhartiya Janata Party has decided to rectify the mistake it made by sidelining senior leader B S Yediyurappa ahead of Karnataka assembly polls held earlier this year. With the appointment of Vijayendra as BJP's state unit chief the saffron unit has tried to make amends to reach out to the Lingayat strongman and his politically significant community.
After months of delay, the BJP finally appointed B S Yediyurappa's son Vijayendra as the state party president. Sources stated this is like an admission by the BJP leadership that removing Yediyurappa from the post of Chief Minister was a wrong decision. Before the Lok Sabha elections, BJP is trying to correct the earlier wrong decisions, sources added.
Vijayendra, 47, has his work cut out. With just months for the Lok Sabha polls, he is expected to build the party cadre’s morale, which is at its lowest point, try to resolve the growing infighting among leaders, and prepare the party to secure seats in the lower house of Parliament.
By making Yeddyurappa's son the President of Karnataka, the BJP has also ended the issue of nepotism being pointed at by a section of party leaders. It is now clear that the issue may be something to be said about in election speeches but it is not an issue anymore for appointments in the organization, sources pointed out.
The move came days after BJP legislators aired these grievances at a meeting chaired by Yediyurappa. Several of these legislators had expressed that they will not be able to attend the winter session of the Karnataka assembly in Belagavi as they have had enough of being ridiculed by the Congress because of the non-appointment of leaders as state BJP chief and LoP in the Assembly.
BJP still banking on BSY
The move has also made it amply clear that the BJP is still banking on the Lingayat strongman, BSY, to win Lok Sabha seats in its southern bastion, sources said.
Lingayats are electorally the most influential community in the state and the saffron unit wants to align its voters with the appointment of Yediyurappa to the crucial post.
Yediyurappa is considered to be the face of the BJP in Karnataka and the leader who had toiled hard over decades to establish the saffron party in its southern bastion. The Central leadership of the BJP had earlier inducted him into the highest decision-making bodies of the saffron unit, the parliamentary board and the central election committee, giving him an overarching role in the forthcoming Assembly polls and 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP had lost the 224-member state Legislative Assembly polls, held earlier this year, to the Congress. Karnataka is electorally an important state for both Congress and the BJP as it elects 28 MPs to the lower house of the Parliament. Of these, the BJP had secured 25 seats with one seat secured by an NDA ally in the 2019 general elections.
The Congress has been able to wrest the Assembly from the saffron unit and is now aiming to dent the BJP’s hopes to retain Karnataka's strength of seats in Lok Sabha in 2024 polls. Holding on to Karnataka has become immensely important for the BJP with Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to seek a third term in the next general elections. The party hopes that the change in organisation would help it regain lost ground and aid it in taking on a confident Congress.