The first BJP government in the South seems quite vulnerable ahead of the 2013 polls, now that its architect — BS Yeddyurappa — has rebelled and launched his own party.
During the party launch on Sunday, the 71-year-old leader not only poured scorn on the BJP high command for crushing “regional pride and aspirations” by removing him from chief minister's post in 2011 but also sought to show that he had severed all links with the saffron party.
As huge crowds poured in to participate in the party launch held in the Lingayat belt, Yeddyurappa also made it a point to show how he had moved away from BJP-RSS icons — stating that he had nothing to do with the “past party or its ideology”.
The photographs of right-wing ideologues such as Deendayal Upadhyaya and Atal Behari Vajpayee had given way to those of Gandhiji, Ambedkar and Jayaprakash Narayan. And then there were hoardings that extolled his achievements as the chief minister.
Minority leaders climbed on to the stage, declaring him as the "most secular leader" in Karnataka, indicating that his future plans did not rule out a political deal with the Congress.
The start of his show of strength was preceded by a meeting of 21 BJP MLAs and five prominent ministers at a loyalist MLC's residence here.
Yeddyurappa said, "People of the state should be the real high command, and not a few sitting in ivory towers in Delhi."
Stating that the Shettar ministry was running with the backing of his MLAs, Yeddyuppa challenged the BJP to dissolve the assembly polls immediately and face fresh polls.