Former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa has started turning the heat on the BJP for his reinstatement at the earliest. The former chief minister herded 55 loyal MLAs to a resort in the outskirts of Bangalore, two days ahead of the presentation of the state budget and has fielded rebel candidate, BJ Puttaswamy, for the month-end Rajya Sabha elections to boot. BJP has reacted to Yeddyurappa's tactics by suspending Puttaswamy from the party.
Puttaswamy is a special invitee to the party's 'backward classes' cell and is political secretary to the chief minister. BJP had already announced the names of R Ramakrishna and Basavaraj Patil Sedam from Karnataka. According to party state president KS Eshwarappa, Puttaswamy was not an official BJP candidate. He added, the party would issue notices to MLAs who had come out in support his nomination.
Meanwhile, party chief, Nitin Gadkari said Yeddyurappa needed to have patience and cooperate with the party, which would soon take a decision in the matter. In a related development 13 MPs loyal to Yeddyurappa have met central leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to lobby for his reinstatement, in New Delhi.
According to Gadkari, no decision would be taken under pressure. The issue is expected to come up to the BJP core group, which had asked Yeddyurappa to step down, eight months ago, in the wake of adverse comments in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining. Yeddyruppa piled on the pressure following the recent high court order, which struck down the Lokayukta's adverse remarks about him.
Meanwhile, according to analysts, the BJP's Karnataka crisis seems to be rapidly taking on caste colours. They say when Yeddyurappa took MLAs from the powerful Lingayat community to a resort on Sunday to pressure the BJP leadership to reinstate him immediately, Adi Chunchanagiri math pontiff Balagangadharanatha Swami extended his support to the chief minister who is from the pontiff's community Vokkaligas. The very same day, a Lingayat pontiff in Bangalore came out in support of Yeddyurappa.
Speculation is rife on the possibility of the ongoing development leading to a political polarisation on caste lines.
Perhaps realising that the stand of the Vokkaligara Sangha and the Adichunchanagiri pontiff may harden in the wake of consolidation of support of Vokkaliga MLAs, the Yeddyurappa camp lost no time in clarifying that it had nothing to do with caste politics and believed in secular principles.