Amidst the political drama unfolding in Karnataka, a game of one-upmanship seems to be brewing in the BJP with the party’s high command mulling over ways to ensure that its current state President BS Yeddyurappa makes a dignified exit from his post.
Sources in the BJP say that Yeddyurappa has scored brownie points with the high command after the massive victory in the Lok Sabha polls. However, Yeddyurappa’s days as the party’s chief in Karnataka are numbered, sources say, and the party is looking for alternative candidates with a strong RSS background.
BJP insiders say that Yeddyurappa would be offered the Chief Ministership if the Congress-JD(S) coalition fails to prove a majority in the Assembly next week.
“Yeddyurappa was in many ways responsible for gathering this much support for the party in Karnataka, despite the corruption scandals. He also managed to break into the Congress’ vote bank in Old Mysuru region with the considerable gains made during the Lok Sabha polls. But its time for Yeddyurappa to hand over the reins to someone else,” the BJP source said.
Party insiders say that for the next state Assembly elections, the BJP is looking to project either BL Santosh, the national general secretary or Chikkamagaluru MLA CT Ravi as the face of the party. “Arvind Limbavali is coordinating the attempt to topple the government and people close to Yeddyurappa like Santhosh and Ashwath Narayan are also involved. If BJP manages to form the government in Karnataka, Yeddyurappa will be the CM. The high command will ensure that Yeddyurappa makes a dignified exit from the responsibilities he has currently,” the source added.
By projecting either BL Santosh or CT Ravi as the next leader, the party is hoping to turn Karnataka into a BJP stronghold in South India. “The plan is to bring in someone with a strong RSS background to replace Yeddyurappa. The party is looking at turning Karnataka into the Uttar Pradesh of the South. There were talks of Yeddyurappa not being offered CM post once the coalition falls but that is not true. The party will reward him for his work,” the source added.
Meanwhile, BJP insiders also say that the rebel MLAs would be given tickets to contest the bye-polls that would be held if their resignations are accepted. "This has been the case in the past. Whether they win or not, they will be given tickets,” the source said.