You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Karnataka BJP warns dissidents, cracks widen in party ahead of 2018 assembly polls

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-04-2017 Sharan Poovanna

Bengaluru: The cracks in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka seem to be getting wider with the senior leadership in the state warning a faction led by leader of the opposition in the legislative council, K.S.Eshwarappa, not to take part in a proposed meeting of dissidents on Thursday.

The developments do not augur well for the party, which suffered defeats in the Nanjangud and Gundlupet byelections in April ahead of 2018 state elections.

In a stern warning, B.J.Puttaswamy, a member of the legislative council and spokesperson of the state BJP, said Eshwarappa’s participation in Thursday’s proposed meeting of dissidents would be construed as “anti-party activity” and would invite punishment.

ALSO READ: Karnataka govt body tells departments to reject non-Kannada communication

“Call this a warning, a notice or a request, but no one should attend the meeting. We request Eshwarappa not to attend this meeting and no one from the party also should,” Puttaswamy said on Tuesday.

Eshwarappa could not be reached for comment.

The developments are part of a long-standing grudge battle between former chief minister B.S.Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa that began almost a decade ago.

More recently, the problems between two of the tallest state BJP leaders began with Eshwarappa initiating the Sangolli Rayanna brigade, a movement based on an 18th century freedom fighter from the Kuruba community, to mobilize backward class votes. Yeddyurappa objected to the formation of the movement.

The rift widened when Eshwarappa complained that his nominees for various district presidency and other office bearers’ posts were sidelined by Yeddyurappa. Many dissidents were suspended from the party as a result.

BJP national president Amit Shah had also intervened in January to resolve the bickering between the two leaders. Eshwarappa said that he will end his association with the brigade, after meeting with Shah.

The party changed the district presidents of Belagavi, Kodagu and Bellary as well as revoked the suspension orders on those siding with Eshwarappa, Puttaswamy said.

“As opposition leader (in the council), Eshwarappa should strengthen the party and not the brigade,” he said on Tuesday.

More From LiveMint

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon