Keeping the door open for further negotiations, former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa has said he would not return to the BJP but would lend outside support to the NDA. The state BJP reacted with caution, saying it would welcome Yeddyurappa, but the decision of the central leadership would prevail.
Yeddyurappa, who had left the party after a long tussle for the chief minister’s post — which he had to resign after being indicted in a graft case — had showed willingness to return, thanks to his closeness to Narendra Modi. His Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) has already endorsed Modi’s candidature for the prime minister’s post.
But Yeddyurappa, whose emissary, businessman Lehar Singh, has already met the BJP brass in Delhi, denied any use of pressure.
“I have not decided to join the BJP and I have not put any conditions for my re-entry, including becoming the party president or the opposition leader. I have not even sent my emissary to Delhi,” he said after the KJP working committee meeting on Thursday. “There is a necessity for Narendra Modi to become the prime minister. It is my dream and I want to support the NDA to achieve it.”
BJP’s former chief minister and Yeddyurappa’s friend-turned-foe DV Sadananda Gowda said, “He had given a positive response after Modi’s elevation, so we continued the effort to bring him back.”
In Delhi, the BJP sounded cool. “That he would support us but not merge is his decision, about which we have nothing to say. But we welcome his support for Modi,” said party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.