Senior Congress leader M B Patil on Thursday accused the BJP of using veteran leader B S Yediyurappa for its ‘survival,’ by appointing him to its highest decision-making body, just ahead of Karnataka assembly polls 2023, and challenged the saffron party to name him as its Chief Minister face instead.
Noting that Yediyurappa was forced to step down as the Chief Minister citing his age as the reason, the state Congress’ campaign committee chairman, who is also considered as the party’s Lingayat face, questioned as to whether his age is not a factor, when he is now inducted into the BJP’s Parliamentary Board and Central Election Committee.
He rejected contention that Yediyurappa’s induction into the BJP’s top body affected Congress’ prospects to attract Lingayat votes and said the community fully understands the ruling party’s game of utilising the Lingayat strongman’s services, only for the sake of elections.
Lingayat, a dominant community, forms the major vote bank of the BJP. Both Yediyurappa and Patil hail from the community. ”Though it is BJP’s internal matter, it is a known fact that Yediyurappa was made to step down citing him crossing 75-years of age as the reason, but now he has been inducted into its top bodies….what I feel is, this special love for Yediyurappa from BJP is an attempt to give oxygen to the party that is at the verge of losing its existence in the State,” Patil told reporters here.
He said, surveys, public and media opinion, recent political developments, the way the government is functioning and Siddaramaiah’s mega 75th birthday bash, has made BJP worried.
”It is not for Yediyurappa or to give respect to him, but for BJP’s survival, he is being used for the next election,” he added.
The BJP on Wednesday announced the appointment of the 79-year-old leader to its Parliamentary Board and Central Election Committee.
He further said that people are not fools and they understand the reality, ”If you (BJP) have so much love and respect towards Yediyurappa, why did you make him step down as the CM…. announce that you will make him Chief Minister once again, let BJP announce that he is party’s CM candidate.” Patil in response to a question whether it is an attempt to keep Lingayat vote base of BJP intact said, ”No doubt that Yediyurappa is a big leader from the community, but Lingayats are not dumb, and are aware of the truth.”