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Karnataka BJP executive meet sidesteps rift in party

LiveMint logoLiveMint 07-05-2017 Sharan Poovanna

Bengaluru: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Karnataka at a two-day state executive committee meet in Mysuru that ended on Sunday focused on drought and the law and order situation, side-stepping a deep rift within the party.

Two of the party’s tallest leaders—state president B.S. Yeddyurappa and leader of the opposition in the legislative council K.S. Eshwarappa—are at loggerheads, with the latter publicly questioning the functioning style of the former.

“We did not bring up the issue in the meet. It was not the right platform to bring it up,” Eshwarappa said in an interview.

The two leaders have been locked in a bitter battle since 2008, when the party first came to power in Karnataka. Matters worsened in April 2016 when Eshwarappa founded Sangolli Rayanna brigade to mobilize backward classes. Yeddyurappa took objection. Despite the intervention of its national president Amit Shah and general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, P. Muralidhar Rao, the feud has not died down.

Eshwarappa also indicated he was yet to join Yeddyurappa in a planned tour of drought-affected districts in the state.

Shobha Karandlaje, member of Parliament from Udupi-Chikmagalur seat in Karnataka, Sunday said it would be best if Eshwarappa wound up the brigade.

“When Narendra Modi became PM, many such forums opened across the country. But Modi directed party workers to disband them and work for the welfare of people only under BJP. My personal opinion is that Eshwarappa should dissolve the brigade,” Karandlaje, a leader from Yeddyurappa’s camp told reporters in Mysore.

She added it was up to the central leadership to find a resolution at the earliest.

Eshwarappa maintains he was never asked to discontinue his association with the brigade, but only that it should not be a platform for political activities.

The party announced that it would undertake a state wide tour from 18 May to highlight the drought-related problems.

“Each day, one district will be visited by the leaders where they study the drought situation and hear public grievances,” she said.

However, Eshwarappa indicated he is yet to decide on whether he will join Yeddyurappa during the tour. On Monday, he had threatened to intensify protests from 20 May if the demands of his faction are not met.

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