Bengaluru: Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leadership for his induction into the party’s Parliamentary Board and Central Election Committee, former Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday said it’s an honour to serve on the highest decision-making body of the party.
According to Yediyurappa’s office, the state BJP strongman spoke to PM Modi over phone thanking him, and the Prime Minister in turn said his service was required to strengthen the party and bring it to power not only in Karnataka, but entire south India.
“I thank Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji, Shri @JPNadda Ji and Shri@AmitShah Ji for giving me the opportunity to serve on @BJP4India Parliamentary Board & Central Election Committee. It is an honour to serve on the highest decision-making body of the party,” Yediyurappa tweeted.
Many in the party circles feel that it is an attempt by the BJP leadership to send out a message that it still has high regard for the veteran leader and was keen to utilise his experience and mentorship, amid allegations by some sections, especially opposition Congress about the Lingayat strongman being sidelined.
The move by the party leadership gains even more significance, as it comes following Yediyurappa recently signalling the end of his innings in electoral politics by stating that he will vacate his Shikaripura assembly seat for son B Y Vijayendra, if the party fields him in the 2023 state assembly polls.
Following the announcement about retiring from electoral politics, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had met Yediyurappa earlier this month during his visit to the state, and is said to have held discussions in this regard.
Sources said the leadership wanted to ensure that Yediyurappa doesn’t feel sidelined, as it fears adverse implications for the party in the polls, in the event of the veteran leader choosing to remain inactive.
It also puts Yediyurappa at “advantage”, as he looks to secure the political future of his younger son Vijayendra, his political heir apparent. Elder son B Y Raghavendra is Member of Parliament from Shivamogga.
“It is certainly an elevation for Yediyurappa when everyone was expecting the end of his politics. The party certainly realises his need and strength and wants to utilise it. The leadership wants to keep him in good books and reap as much benefit as it can in favour of BJP during the assembly polls,” a BJP functionary said.
By projecting that Yediyurappa is being sidelined by BJP, the Congress had planned to attract votes of Lingayats, the dominant community which forms the strong vote base of the party in the state, in their favour, a BJP leader said. “Now, by inducting Yediyurappa into top decision-making bodies of the party, it has been completely outwitted now.” Though Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is also a Lingayat, the sway Yediyurappa holds over the community cannot be disregarded, a leader said, adding, “He is still the tallest leader not only from the community, but he is also a mass leader.” In a major shake-up, the BJP on Wednesday dropped Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from its parliamentary board, its apex organisational body, and brought in six new members, including Yediyurappa and Iqbal Singh Lalpura, first Sikh representative.