Vinay Kulkarni, who has been hoping to join the party, was detained for questioning on Thursday in the murder case of BJP leader Yogesh Gowda in Dharwad.

BJP's KS Eshwarappa holding up his left hand while speaking at an event organised for party workers. He is wearing a white shirt and vermillion on his forehead.
news Politics Thursday, November 05, 2020 - 14:19

Karnataka Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, KS Eshwarappa, on Thursday said that the BJP “would never” accept former minister and Congress leader Vinay Kulkarni into its fold. “Let me be very clear. The BJP would never agree to bring Vinay Kulkarni into the party,” KS Eshwarappa told the media, while adding that Vinay Kulkarni had reached out to many BJP leaders, hoping to be inducted into the party. The statement came even as Vinay, a former Dharwad MLA, was taken in for questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday morning. His name has been attached to BJP leader Yogesh Gowda’s murder since 2016. However, the CBI has so far not found evidence of his connection to the case, as per police sources. 

Yogesh Gowda’s family had alleged in 2016 that he had received a letter the night before his murder. The letter allegedly said that Vinay Kulkarni had purportedly hatched a plot to kill him. Vinay Kulkarni has been the archrival to several BJP leaders including Hubballi-Dharwad Central legislator Jagadish Shettar and Union Minister Pralhad Joshi. 

Read: CBI questions ex-Cong minister Vinay Kulkarni in connection with murder of BJP leader

Since 2016, the BJP has been accusing Vinay Kulkarni of conspiring to murder Yogesh Gowda. On Thursday, the CBI detained Vinay Kulkarni and began questioning him in connection with the murder case. Earlier this year, the CBI had questioned the lead investigators in the case in 2016 and also former Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara in connection with the murder. When the agency filed a chargesheet in May this year, it had claimed that the murder was politically motivated. 

“Vinay Kulkarni is being questioned in connection with Yogesh Gowda’s murder. If he is given a clean chit by the CBI, then good for him. But we will not allow him to join the BJP no matter how many times he asks,” KS Eshwarappa said on Thursday. 

Eshwarappa’s statement comes in the backdrop of lobbying by several BJP leaders including CP Yogeeshwar, who wanted Kulkarni to join the BJP. In October this year, Vinay Kulkarni and CP Yogeeshwar had travelled to Rajasthan to meet several BJP leaders. Kulkarni had hoped to convince the leaders to allow him to join the party. He also attempted to meet BJP National General Secretary (Organisation), BL Santhosh, but was not given an appointment. 

“He met many BJP leaders hoping to join the party but the national leaders were not convinced and rejected his proposal. The national leaders informed him that they would consider his proposal if the CBI clears his name in the probe,” a senior BJP leader said.