Former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa, who is in legal trouble because of his alleged links with the mining lobby and the BJP’s refusal to provide him the cover of high office, is reportedly considering the option of joining Sharad Pawar’s NCP.
This would provide him the protection of a party with significant clout in Delhi while giving the NCP a chance to emerge as a significant political force in Karnataka — and increase its national footprint — riding his Lingayat vote base.
The Lingayats and Vokkaligas are two politically dominant castes in Karnataka.
On Monday, BSY was on the verge of quitting his MLAship and the BJP. But he was restrained from doing so by the Siddaganga and other prominent monasteries in the state.
Yeddyurappa is also worried that he may lose his charisma, which helped the BJP to come to power in a South Indian state for the first time.
To prevent that, directly or indirectly, he has been talking to NCP leaders since he was compelled to resign as CM when his name appeared in justice Santosh Hegde’s report on illegal mining.
Since December he has also been angling for the office of the president of the BJP’s state unit or to get his chief ministership back. His party has been unbending in this regard.
This led to the speculation that he might either join the NCP or launch a regional party.
It was earlier reported that Pawar was trying to build bridges with the Lingayat lobby. Apart from Yeddyurappa, he had approached MLA BC Patil, who is also a member of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. Both leaders command influence in the Lingayat community and are in a position to support Pawar in the Lok Sabha polls of 2014.
Pawar had secretly met Patil and Congress legislative council member Dayananda Reddy through Mangalore-based businessman PR Shetty at his (Pawar’s) residence in Baramati.
Sources said Congress leaders such as Malikaiah Guttedar, Babu Rao Chinchansur and others had shown interest in this development.