Bengaluru – Bharatiya Janata Party’s failure to win both Nanjangud and Gundlupet Assembly by-elections has upset the BJP high command and it is seeking explanation from State leadership.
BJP State President B.S. Yeddyurappa has already left for Bhubaneswar in Odisha where the two-day BJP National Executive is being held from Apr. 15 (today) and he will meet National BJP President Amit Shah to discuss the election fall-out.
The Congress victory in the by-elections to two constituencies has come as a big blow for Yeddyurappa, who had termed the election as “semi-final” before next year’s Assembly polls. The loss could mean trouble for Yeddyurappa as dissenting voices within the BJP were getting bolder against him with many leaders unhappy with his style of functioning.
The BJP was hoping for a huge victory in Nanjangud and Gundlupet that would enable it to be in a commanding position in the 2018 Assembly elections. Even during his election rallies, Yeddyurappa’s campaign rhetoric centred on how the by-election victory would help him become Chief Minister again.
Yeddyurappa also turned it into a personal battle between himself and Siddharamaiah. It will be difficult for Yeddyurappa to convince Amit Shah because he was not able to deliver the entire Lingayat vote in the BJP’s kitty.
BJP has also realised that the Congress, which had put in its might in the by-elections, will make all efforts to win the next Assembly elections and it would not be an easy task to accomplish its Mission 150, a project to win 150 seats in the 224-seat Karnataka Assembly in 2018.
Adding to the woes of BJP, over 24 BJP leaders had written a letter to Yeddyurappa asking him to mend his ways as they felt his style of functioning was hurting the party. Senior party leader K.S. Eshwarappa too had publicly aired his opposition to Yeddyurappa’s style of functioning.
Amit Shah is expected to discuss the by-election loss with the State BJP leaders and take explanation from them as to what were the reasons for the party’s defeat. Other leaders who are expected to be with the meeting along with Yeddyurappa are former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, former Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashoka, Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council K.S. Eshwarappa, Union Ministers H.N. Ananth Kumar, D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Ramesh Jigajinagi.
Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa has attributed the by-election loss to party workers as they had failed to reach the BJP’s programmes to the voters. “BJP’s welfare and pro-poor programmes have not been effectively conveyed to the voters,” Yeddyurappa said in Bengaluru at a function organised to celebrate Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Jayanti.