Yeddyurappa’s winning recipe for Karnataka: Breakfast with Dalit, lunch with an OBC | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Yeddyurappa’s winning recipe for Karnataka: Breakfast with Dalit, lunch with an OBC

The former CM BS Yeddyurappa, who battled a series of corruption allegations in his last stint between 2008 and 2011, is now preparing a recipe to cook up victory for the BJP.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2017 07:32 IST
Kumar Uttam
State BJP president BS Yeddyurappa has lunch with a member of the Dalit community near Chikmagalur in Karnataka.
State BJP president BS Yeddyurappa has lunch with a member of the Dalit community near Chikmagalur in Karnataka. (PTI File Photo)

NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind has little association with Karnataka but his name reverberates in BJP meetings in the state. Kovind’s Dalit identity and the surety of becoming India’s next President have given the BJP a reason to reach out to nearly 18% of the state’s population that owes allegiance to the Congress.

The BJP’s chief ministerial candidate’s common refrain at public meetings nowadays is, “A Dalit (Kovind) as president and OBC (Narendra Modi) as PM is a first for India. This can happen only under BJP.”

Karnataka is the last Congress bastion in south India and the only big state now in its kitty. The BJP polled 19.8% votes and won 40 of the total 224 assembly seats in 2013, behind Congress’ tally of 122 seats with 36.59% votes. BS Yeddyurappa’s Karnataka Janata Paksha won just six seats but polled 9.8% votes. He merged his outfit with BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

Read | Karnataka: Central BJP leadership ‘stands by’ Yeddyurappa in intra-party feud

The former CM, who battled a series of corruption allegations in his last stint between 2008 and 2011, is now preparing a recipe to cook up victory for the BJP.

“I breakfast with Dalits and lunch with OBCs,” he told HT before leaving for a Jana Samparka Abhiyana, a mass contact programme that has taken him to 80 out of 224 assembly seats of the state before ending at Bijapur on June 29. By June, BSY travelled nearly 9,500km and covered 26 districts to hold about 40 programmes targeted only at SCs and OBCs. The second leg begins from Bagalkot on July 6 and BSY plans to visit the rest of the 144 constituencies in July before Amit Shah’s visit in August.

“Even if 40% of the SC community votes for BJP, we will touch the 150 mark in state assembly,” Yeddyurappa told HT. Dalits accounts for nearly 18% of the state’s population.

But isn’t his tainted past a baggage for the BJP? “I have been cleared of the charges,” he replied. “Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have placed their trust in me. Its my duty to win Karnataka for them.”

Read | BJP’s defeat in Karnataka assembly bypolls a setback for state chief Yeddyurappa