While the spotlight is currently on Narendra Modi and the upcoming Gujarat polls, the country is witnessing another upheaval down south. BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa, the architect of the first saffron government in Karnataka, has quit the party and launched his own outfit – the Karnataka Janata Party. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with HT.
Why are you so angry with BJP, when you were the one who helped bring it to power down South?
I was removed as CM not by the people or MLAs but by Ananth Kumar and other leaders who manipulated the party's so-called high command. I built the BJP from scratch. It is like ants building their home painstakingly and then, serpents and reptiles worming their way into their homes to get power.
Why do you suspect a conspiracy by BJP leaders?
Some people in Delhi have damaged my reputation. Even getting my name included in the Lokayukta report was part of their conspiracy to oust me. Even after the HC quashed the report, I was denied a chance to become CM again. They are enjoying power now.
What is your strategy?
I will tour intensively and focus beyond the so-called Lingayat belt to prove that I have the love of the Kannada people.
Would you rule out a post-poll pact with the BJP?
I will have nothing to do with the BJP, which I have quit after 40 years. There is no saffron colour in my party’s flag. I will not have anything to do with Deva Gowda's JD(S) either.
Some people say you have reached a secret understanding with the Congress?
I plan to win enough number of seats — at least 100 of the 224-member House – on my own. I have the love of millions of Kannadigas due to my policies as CM.
Regional parties usually never succeed. Will you fail like S Bangarappa (in Karnataka), and rebel BJP leaders Uma Bharti (MP) and Kalyan Singh (UP)?
The people of Karnataka have seen my work as CM. The time is ripe for a regional party like KJP. I will either be the king or kingmaker. No government can be formed without us.