Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley arrived in Bangalore on Saturday night, apparently on a private visit, but a day later Karnataka was abuzz that he met former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa to convince him to stay on in the party.
Yeddyurappa, popularly known as BSY, on Sunday rejected talk that he met Jaitley at a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader’s house and said, “I am out of the BJP 99%. There is no going back.”
Jaitley, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, did not speak to the media here before leaving for Chennai.
Sources in the state BJP unit said the party’s top leadership did not want to expel BSY, who failed to get back to power after being forced to quit as chief minister in July last year following his indictment by the lokayukta on charges of corruption in a mining scam.
People close to the leader from the politically significant Lingayat community have indicated that he blames BJP president Nitin Gadkari for failing to rehabilitate him.
BSY said, as declared, he would “launch the Karnataka Janata Party in Haveri district (central Karnataka) on December 9, irrespective of whether anyone will be with me or not on that day”.
His belligerence came in the wake of the BJP government, led by chief minister Jagadish Shettar, deciding to convene a nine-day assembly session from December 5 at Belgaum, 400 km north of Bangalore.
The government’s move is being seen as a desperate bid to keep BJP legislators loyal to BSY away from his Haveri meeting.
BSY had given the BJP a reminder of his clout on Tuesday, parading 45 of the party’s 118 MLAs in the 225-member assembly, nine MPs and 11 members of the legislative council after meeting them at his posh Dollars Colony house.
The former chief minister is credited with leading the BJP to power on its own (just three seats short of a majority) for the first time in a south Indian state in 2008.
With agency inputs