Shah’s breakfast meeting at BSY’s house sends strong message in state
Amid rising infighting within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka, Union home minister Amit Shah’s gesture at the breakfast meeting with senior leader BS Yediyurappa in Bengaluru on Friday has sent a strong political message ahead of the assembly elections in the state, leaders close to developments said.
Shah, who is on a two-day visit to the poll-bound state, was greeted by Yediyurappa at his residence in Bengaluru on Friday.
The former chief minister welcomed Shah with a flower bouquet when the Union home minister insisted that Yediyurappa’s son and state BJP vice president B Y Vijayendra hand him the bouquet.
Shah went on to hold Vijayendra close as the two posed for pictures for the media persons. Significantly, Yediyurappa and Vijayendra later took upon the responsibility of serving food to the visitors.
The gesture assumes significance considering the recent spat between Yediyurappa’s son and the party’s national general secretary CT Ravi.
In July 2022, Yediyurappa announced that he would not contest the 2023 elections from the family stronghold of Shikaripura in the future, leaving the seat for Vijayendra.
Recently, CT Ravi raised objections to this and criticised Yediyurappa for reserving his seat for his son. Ravi said that decisions on candidates cannot be made in anybody’s “kitchen”, indicating that Vijayendra would not be an automatic choice for Shikaripura.
“The decision on candidates will not be taken in anyone’s kitchen. Nobody will get a ticket because they are somebody’s son. The decision on the ticket will also not be taken in the home of the aspirant. On the question of Vijayendra, the decision will be taken by the Parliamentary Board,” Ravi had said.
Vijayendra then slammed Ravi, warning him not to criticise his father. “Yediyurappa never thought about his family. Yediyurappa is not the chief minister now. Although he is not in any high position, the 6.5 crore Kannadigas hold him in high esteem and close to their hearts,” he retorted.
Friday’s move is being seen by some within the party as Shah acknowledging Vijayendra’s contribution to the party, and his possibility of contesting in the upcoming assembly polls, the leaders said.
There were earlier reports that Yediyurappa was upset as Vijayendra, considered his political heir apparent, was not given any “prominent position” in the party and was not inducted into the cabinet by making him an MLC, after his stepping down as the chief minister in 2021.
Meanwhile, the top BJP leaders are said to have discussed the political developments in the state and reviewed the preparations for the assembly elections due by May this year.
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh, water resources minister Govind Karjol, transport minister B Sriramulu and BJP general secretary (organisation) Rajesh GV were invited to the breakfast meeting.
Speaking to reporters, Vijayendra said politics was discussed over breakfast. “In the upcoming Assembly elections, there should be no hung verdict at any cost. The BJP should win a clear majority. This was discussed,” he said.
Vijayendra also clarified that Yediyurappa has not been sidelined.
“I’m currently focused on Shikaripura, and I’m going there again. the central leadership will decide,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shah on Friday took a dig at the Congress and said it is degenerating across the country and has now set its eyes on Karnataka to make the state its ATM.
He also appealed to the people of Karnataka not to give a “half and incomplete government”, and to form a BJP government with a full majority and thereby strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bommai.
“Congress party is degenerating across the country, the Congress people don’t have any state with them that can fill the Congress’ central treasury, they want an ATM… They want Karnataka to become Congress’ ATM, and the corrupt Congress’ eyes are now set on Karnataka,” Shah said.
Addressing a beneficiaries’ meet organised by the Karnataka Cooperative department and other departments, he asked people whether they will form a BJP government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership in Karnataka or a Congress government with Rahul Gandhi at the helm.
“Wherever the Congress has formed the government, their history is corruption, the humiliation of Dalits, OBCs and Adivasis, and strengthening anti-national forces,” he alleged.
Reacting to Shah’s gesture, former chief minister and leader of the Opposition Siddaramiah said that it shows that the BJP is attempting to pacify Yediyurappa after sidelining him in the party.
“He must have gone to pacify Yediyurappa. They forcefully made him step down as the chief minister. Now, they are sidelining him at the party as well. It clearly shows that importance has not been given to Yediyurappa,” Siddaramiah said.
Shah’s frequent visits are significant amid the party’s push to return to power in the southern state.
Chambi Puranik, a political analyst, said, “Yediyurappa has been a mass leader. Shah must have known from his own intelligence sources that it would be very difficult without Yediyurappa to win. Vijayendra is also emerging as a good leader and Shah would want him to know that the party wants to depend on him along with his father going forward. It is also a message to affirm that Shah and Modi don’t want any other dissident groups. Also, at the time of campaigning, they want everyone to be united.”
“There are no better strategists than BJP. So many unprecedented visits show that there is a lot of expectation for BJP’s victory. They want to consolidate the party’s position and also the reinforcement of faith in BSY and his son is the biggest display of optics by Amit Shah,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)