Yeddyurappa eyes return as chief of Karnataka BJP

  • Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 13, 2016 00:18 IST
Lingayat strongman BS Yeddyurappa (PTI File Photo)

Lingayat strongman BS Yeddyurappa is eyeing return as chief of Karnataka BJP, which will get a new president after election to local bodies next month.

Yeddyurappa had to step down as chief minister in July 2011 following an adverse Lokayukta report and has been almost marginalized in the BJP since then.

He received a shot in the arm last week when the Karnataka high court quashed proceedings in relation to 15 FIRs filed against him by the Lokayukta police and BSY wants to exploit this ‘clean chit’ to bounce back in state politics.

Party seniors in Delhi did not rule out the possibility. “He is undoubtedly the tallest leader of the party in that state, who comes from the most influential (Lingayat) community and has a mass base. He is interested in taking up the party assignment and the central leadership will consider it,” a senior BJP leader in Delhi told HT.

Former deputy chief minister R Ashoka, who was earlier tipped to get an assignment in the national team of office-bearers, is another contender for the post. Party leaders agree that now that the charges for which he had to resign as chief minister have been quashed by the high court, there is no apparent reason to deny him a role in state politics.

A source claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Mysore for the Indian Science Congress earlier this month, had spoken to Yeddyurappa on party matters.

Yeddyurappa stepped down as chief minister in July 2011 following a Lokayukta report on an alleged land scam. He quit the party in November 2012 to float his own outfit and successfully contested the 2013 assembly election in which the BJP was routed.

However, he merged his Karnataka Janata Paksha with the BJP just ahead of the Lok Sabha election in 2014 and successfully contested the parliamentary election from Shimoga.

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