Former Karnataka CM and rebel BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa will bid goodbye to the party on Friday and launch his new party, Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), on December 9.
"I didn't know it was Sonia Gandhi's birthday. It's a coincidence that my party is being launched on her birthday," says Yeddyurappa, who has never hidden admiration for the Congress president.
Rather, he was forced to hold his launch rally at Haveri in north Karnataka, the home of influential Lingayat religious leaders, on that day, say his aides.
Initially, Yeddyurappa, who is credited for the first BJP government in the south, had chosen December 10 for the rally. But the BJP government decided to summon a special assembly session in its new building at Belgaum on that day and even issued a whip for all BJP MLAs to attend the session.
"I have asked ministers, MPs and MLAs not to attend the party launch. I want the CM Jagadish Shettar-led ministry to complete its term," Yeddyurappa said, indicating that he wanted to avoid any disciplinary action by BJP against his supporters.
Yeddyurappa had planned to launch his party on December 25 as a tribute to former PM AB Vajpayee who will turn 88 that day. However, astrologers told him that the date fell during an inauspicious period.
Yeddyurappa has not ruled out an alliance with the Congress in the post-poll scenario. "I will be king or a king-maker," his loyalists quote him as saying.
A few days ago, Yeddyurappa had said Gandhi did not dump her party leaders during hard times. Some BJP leaders claimed that Yeddyurappa had also put up her picture at his Malleshwaram office in Bangalore. However, later he removed it to avoid controversies.