Did BS Yediyurappa’s exit hurt BJP the most? What it means for 2024 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Did BS Yediyurappa’s exit hurt BJP the most? What it means for 2024

May 13, 2023 07:12 PM IST

Karnataka election results: Former chief minister BS Yediyurappa was not very active in the BJP campaign because of his old age and restricted himself to central Karnataka and Hubballi region

Bengaluru: It was in 2008 that BS Yediyurappa paved way for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a government in Karnataka, its first in south India. A decade-and-half later, the veteran Lingayat leader, now 80, did not contest the 2023 assembly elections, although the loss in these elections is seen more as the party’s central leadership’s, than his.

Former chief minister and senior BJP leader BS Yediyurappa at the launch of BJP’s Vijay Sankalp Yatra at Devanahalli near Bengaluru (PTI File Photo)
Former chief minister and senior BJP leader BS Yediyurappa at the launch of BJP’s Vijay Sankalp Yatra at Devanahalli near Bengaluru (PTI File Photo)

That’s because, many believe Yediyurappa was forced to resign as chief minister by the BJP in 2021-- the official position is that given his age, he decided to make way for a younger man, Basavaraj Bommai. Last year, Yediyurappa announced that he was giving up his constituency, Shikaripur for his younger son, B Y Vijayendra (he won).

Ahead of the elections, the BJP seemed to realise their mistake and sought to play up Yediyurappa’s role in the campaign, but it did not work. The Lingayat community perceived saw his removal as CM as a slight, and Bommai, despite being a Lingayat himself, couldn’t address this.

“Yediyurappa because of his old age was not very active in campaign and restricted himself to central Karnataka and Hubballi region. The Lingayats did not see Bommai as able replacement for him. Moreover, Bommai did not have appeal beyond Lingayats as Yediyurappa had,” said A Naryana, a political science professor at Azim Premji University.

Bommai was also targeted by the opposition over corruption in his government, and the active pursuit of a communal agenda as manifested in the issues of hijab, halal and scrapping 4% reservation for Muslims.

“His various steps especially the ones targeting Muslims, especially by scrapping of 4% reservation accorded to them under the OBC category, did not go down well with Muslims. He was not seen as inclusive as Yediyurappa,” a BJP functionary said, asking not to be named.

Analysts say that the BJP’s over-reliance on Prime Minister Narendra Modi also gave the impression that it did not have confidence in the incumbent chief minister Bommai. During ticket distribution, former chief minister Jagadish Shettar claimed that B L Santosh, a Brahmin and the BJP’s general secretary, was deciding the tickets, not Yediyurappa or Bommai. Shettar after being denied ticket, quit the BJP and joined the Congress. He lost from Hubballi.

Bommai himself was re-elected for the fourth consecutive time from Shiggaon , “We will take these results in our stride and will reorganise the party and come back during Lok Sabha elections,” he told reporters.

Political analyst Chambi Puranik said that Yediyurappa is the key to the BJP doing well in 2024.

“He will also be loyal to BJP because the future of his two sons - BY Vijayendra and BY Raghavendra - is in the hands of the party high command,” Puranik added.

“Victory and defeat aren’t new to BJP. Party workers need not panic at these results. We will introspect about the party’s setback. I respectfully accept this verdict,” Yediyurappa said on Saturday, adding that the party would do well in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

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