Sat, 27 Aug 2022 12:16 PM IST
Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, the newly appointed member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Parliamentary Board, has decided to launch a statewide tour covering all the districts to strengthen the saffron party ahead of the 2023 assembly elections. He made the remarks after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP national president JP Nadda in New Delhi on Friday.
The statewide tour, which will be held in two or three phases, will begin in the first week of September and will be completed in the next three months.
"Details of my Yatra are being finalised but I will cover all the districts within the next three months starting from the first week of September," he told news agency ANI. "The actual feedback will come from the ground so on my Yatra I will meet party workers, hold various meetings of the organisation and also hold public rallies."
The BJP stalwart, the tallest Lingayat leader in Karnataka, was asked to step down by the party top brass last year, with his close aide Basavaraj Bommai getting the Chief Minister's position. However, he was recently added to the BJP's Parliamentary Board, which shows the saffron party wants him on board for the Karnataka assembly elections 2023.
Although Yediyurappa has already declared that he won't contest the assembly elections, his elevation is a master stroke by the BJP and has surprised the opposition, which thought that his political career is nearly over.
In Karnataka, the Lingayat community has been a very important and dominating factor in state politics. The Congress has appointed Lingayat leader MB Patil the head of its Publicity Committee, but Yediyurappa's elevation has spoiled Congress' chances to woo the community as the former Chief Minister is already quite popular among the Lingayats.
The Lingayats, a Hindu Shaivite community, are the state's single largest community (17 per cent of the total population). They can easily determine the outcome of elections in Karnataka in 90 to 100 seats of the state's 224 assembly constituencies.
Since the 1994 assembly elections, most of the people of the community have supported the BJP, leading to the rise of Yediyurappa as a Lingayat face in state politics. However, the Lingayat community distanced itself from the BJP in 2013 after Yediyurappa was removed from the party over corruption allegations.
In the 2013 assembly polls, BJP won only 40 seats with its vote share getting dipped to 19.95 per cent. However, Yediyurappa's return to the BJP consolidated the saffron party's command on the Lingayat community once again.