Smarting under the BJP high command's decision not to re-induct him, former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa on Sunday blew hot and cold, first saying he would not campaign for the party in the Chickmaglur Lok Sabha bypoll and later declaring that there were no groups in the party.
In a show of strength in Hubli by his supporters on the occasion of his 69th birthday celebrations, he invoked the legacy of Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani to say that the party was united and that the opposition parties like Congress and JD-S were only dreaming of coming back to power. "The dream will not be realised," he said.
Earlier in the morning, before addressing the rally, he told reporters that he would not campaign for BJP in the Chickmaglur byelection because chief minister Sadananda Gowda had said that there were eight cases against him and it would have an adverse impact on the party's prospects.
"The central leadership promised to reinstate me but it did not materialise for some reasons. Nevertheless, I don't criticise them (for going back on their promise)," he said.
"From today onwards there is no groupism in the party. We all belong to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's party. I have not fought for power," Yeddyurappa said.
He also made it clear he would not ask the high command for chief ministership.
"It is true I had asked for reinstatement as chief minister for I desired to present a Rs one lakh crore budget. Now I don't want anything. That is a closed chapter," said Yeddyurappa.
The former chief minister had earlier expressed hope the high command would do justice to him after the high court order had struck down a chapter in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, which indicted him leading to his exit as Chief Minister last year.
Yeddyurappa likened himself to Mahabharata's Arjuna, saying he knows the art of entering into political warfare and how to come out of it.
He also indirectly referred to his detractors as Abhimanyu, Arjuna's son, who, he said, was well versed with entering into political warfare but did not know the way out.
Yeddyurappa's bete noire Jagadish Shettar likened the rally to BJP leader Vajpayee's 'Sankalp Yatra' here, saying it would be the turning point for the second time in the history of Karnataka politics.
Even as the BJP top brass turned down Yeddyurappa's demand for reinstatement, loyalist ministers and legislators from all over the state advocated that he be made chief minister again.
Home minister R Ashok expressed confidence that the leadership would take into consideration Yeddyurappa's role in building the party and give an appropriate post to him.
He said Yeddyurappa was more than a leader of just one community. "He is a mass leader.It does not matter if he is in power or not, his welfare schemes have reached the masses," he said.