Jockeying for CM’s post begins in BJP, high command keeps up suspense

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Jockeying for CM’s post begins in BJP, high command keeps up suspense

  • The BJP high command is maintaining the suspense over the chief minister candidate in Karnataka, if the party is voted to power. Though it is chanting the mantra of collective leadership, hectic lobbying has already started for the top post.
     

Bengaluru: The BJP high command is maintaining the suspense over the chief minister candidate in Karnataka, if the party is voted to power. Though it is chanting the mantra of collective leadership, hectic lobbying has already started for the top post.

Prominent leaders from the Lingayat community have already met and placed a demand before the high command to announce that a candidate from the community would become the CM.

Vokkaliga leader and party national general secretary C.T. Ravi has also expressed his desire to become the CM. Former minister K.S. Eshwarappa has favoured his candidature. However, the high command is maintaining silence over the issue.

BJP insiders said there was always an attempt within the party to extend its base across Karnataka. The decision makers have been trying to limit the dependency of the party on the Lingayat vote bank by extending the party base to the Vokkaliga and other communities.

After ensuring the dethroning of Yediyurappa, the BJP is seriously looking for an alternative leadership, sources said. The BJP wants to get over the “Lingayat party” image. However, since the party is not able to find an alternative leader with mass appeal across the state in other communities and also among Lingayat leaders, the party is treading carefully, sources said.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh had stated that the new government would take shape as per the wishes of Yediyurappa. At the time of the filing of nomination of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, BJP national president J.P. Nadda stated that the voters are not electing a MLA here. He maintained that CM Bommai would get another opportunity for five years.

Former minister Eshwarappa stated that C T Ravi is a good leader. He is doing very good work in Chikkamagaluru. I did not say anything about him being the next CM. I have no authority to make such a statement. As Ravi hails from the influential Vokkaliga community, he has all the qualities to become the CM, he added.

Eshwarappa had also said at a party meeting that he hoped C.T. Ravi would be elected MLA by a huge margin and become the CM. Ravi had expressed his wish to become CM in Mysuru.

Senior journalist C. Rudrappa told IANS that there are good chances of a dark horse as the CM candidate if the BJP wins. Minister for Power, Kannada and Culture V. Sunil Kumar, a staunch follower of Hindutva ideology and hailing from a backward community and prominent Vokkaliga face C.T. Ravi could be the party’s choice.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi talking to former minister K.S. Eshwarappa to pacify him is an unprecedented development. Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shobha Karandlaje has earned the confidence of the high command after fulfilling the tasks given to her in the Uttar Pradesh elections. Any of them could emerge as the CM candidate in the place of a Lingayat face, Rudrappa claimed.

However, party sources maintained that the experiment is too risky as it might seriously damage the Lingayat vote bank, which served the saffron party as its core strength to expand its base. The Vokkaliga vote bank is firmly with the JD (S) and the Congress is projecting D.K. Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga, as one of its CM candidates.

The Lingayat vote bank once standing with the Congress moved on and is presently with the BJP and the party is taking a chance, the sources said. However, the policymakers are confident that they could reach out to all sections with the Hindutva ideology and the Modi wave and begin a new chapter in states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.


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