Rebel leader and former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa on Thursday announced that his one-year-old party, Karnataka Janatha Paksha (KJP), will merge with the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Speaking in Bengaluru, Yeddyurappa said that formalities of the merger will be completed within 3 to 4 days. “We will fight Lok Sabha polls together,” he added.
The Central BJP leaders gave their nod to his return after hectic parleys to overcome opposition from LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj.
In a bid to stave off criticism over his return, Yeddyurappa won’t be made the state party chief or even its campaign head. Also, neither Yeddyurappa nor his son Raghvendra, who is a sitting MP from Shimoga, will seek BJP ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls.
Nor will the former CM seek a say in distribution of ticket. He said he would “just” campaign for BJP and support the candidature of Narendra Modi as prime minister.
State BJP chief Prahlad Joshi said, “We welcome Yeddyurappa back to BJP and, with this move, we put behind us all that happened in the past.”
His one-time arch rival, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar, said the BJP would get a big boost in the 2014 polls as a result of the merger.
The saffron party had been worried that it may not be able to retain all the 18 of the 28 seats from the state that it won in 2009.
Both Yeddyurappa and BJP leaders realised that a division in BJP votes -- as witnessed in the state polls last year -- helped neither him nor the parent party. His KJP garnered only six seats but it took away 10 per cent vote share in the May 8 assembly polls, playing a spoiler to the then ruling BJP, which lost its power.
Yeddyurappa’s return was on the cards ever since Modi was named the BJP’s PM candidate in September last year. Yeddyurappa has been rooting for the Gujarat CM as PM and Modi too told BJP leaders that Yeddyurappa should be brought back to the party.
In November, two days before Modi’s rally in Bangalore, many posters surfaced featuring Yeddyurappa and Modi together.
Credited with forming the first BJP government in the south, Yeddyurappa had fought bitterly with other BJP leaders before his exit from the BJP in December 2012.