In the run-up to the Karnataka assembly elections in 2018, BJP’s national President Amit Shah has now entrusted the job of poll-organisational matters to RSS man BL Santhosh, the BJP’s National Joint Secretary.
Although the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate is its state President BS Yeddyurappa, Amit Shah has entrusted the job of strengthening the party at the grassroot level to Santosh.
Shah held a core committee meeting of the Karnataka BJP unit in Delhi on Saturday and instructed Yeddyurappa to cooperate with Santhosh to strengthen the party, a senior BJP leader, who was present at the meeting, told TNM.
This comes as a major set-back for Yeddyurapppa as he had sidelined Santhosh in the party ever since he shut down his Karnataka Janata Paksha and rejoined the BJP.
Yeddyurappa had, on several occasions during the Sangolli Rayanna Brigade conflict, accused Santhosh of “interfering in party issues”.
According to the BJP source, Amit Shah has now given Santhosh complete freedom to build the party organisation, prepare election strategies and draw an action plan for the upcoming polls.
“Yeddyurappa’s organisational roles for the upcoming elections has been restrained. He has been instructed by Amit Shah to take into consideration all core committee leaders’ views before making any decisions. This is good because Yeddyurappa takes into consideration only the views of his cronies and is somewhat dictatorial when it comes to decision making,” the source accused.
Several veteran party members had expressed their disappointment with Yeddyurappa’s decision-making processes.
“The Sangolli Rayyanna Brigade, headed by KS Eshwarappa, the Leader of Opposition in Vidhana Parishad, had become a controversial issue as the Brigade was used by several leaders of the party to bring to fore the workings of the state BJP led by Yeddyurappa,” the source added.
The infighting among party members had reached New Delhi and Amit Shah had intervened to settle the dispute.
According to sources, animosity between Yeddyurappa and Santhosh has been building for years. It is believed that Santhosh had a role to play in Yeddyurappa’s resignation as Chief Minister in 2011, following an adverse report by Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde on his involvement in illegal mining. BL Santhosh, some say, was among those who convinced the BJP that it required a clean man at the top, and that Yeddyurappa should resign.
It is also believed that Santhosh was not entirely happy about Yeddyurappa’s appointment to the top of the state BJP. When Yeddyurappa was appointed as the state party President in 2016, Santhosh had other names in mind, including CT Ravi and Eshwarappa, but the high command thought differently.
At present, national joint secretary (organization) Santhosh is in charge of south India.
“He played an important role in operations in the 2008 assembly polls when the BJP came to power. He has the ability to get volunteers to work for the party. Booth committees of nine members each representing all castes in all Assembly constituencies will be set up,” the source added.
The state unit BJP leaders will meet the district core committee and election committee members at the party office from August 28 to September 3 to sort out organisational problems.