B.Y. Vijayendra is BJP’s State President
In Karnataka, BJP, which tasted power more by default, compromises and, of course, the sinister ‘Operation Kamala’ with B.S. Yediyurappa sworn-in four times as Chief Minister and later Basavaraj Bommai as the Chief Minister, lost power in the 2023 Assembly elections. The Congress was victorious with absolute majority of 135 seats as against BJP’s pathetic 66. It was a terrible loss of face for BJP so much so it did not realise what hit its credibility with the voters.
Of course, the victims of the BJP rule did not forget the rampant corruption and certainly took corrective steps by voting BJP out of power to an extent BJP was not able to wield its political weapon ‘Operation Kamala’ to defeat Congress in its moment of great victory.
The State BJP was in total disarray not knowing how to reclaim its credibility with the voters of Karnataka and take the party forward with the internal dissent plaguing it.
It is surprising that the BJP High Command at Delhi simply threw up its hands as if nothing had happened to the party following its ignominious defeat. It was either helpless or indifferent to reclaiming the lost political ground of BJP in Karnataka that it did not even select its Opposition Leader in the Assembly till date. It was also not able to replace its Karnataka State BJP President in the face of defeat.
To me, it looked as if BJP High Command was capable of defying the law of nature. Nature always resists vacuum. When there is an air pocket in atmosphere, it is immediately filled with air rushing into the vacuum. Which is why, we experience turbulence while travelling in aircraft. In State BJP, the vacuum remained.
It seems propitious that the BJP High Command at last realised the possible danger to the party in Karnataka if decisions regarding filling the vacancy of the Opposition Leader and replacing an anonymous kind of a President are not taken. That probably was the reason why the BJP High Command appointed B.Y. Vijayendra, comparatively a young politician, a Lingayat, the son of the former BJP’s tallest leader and the former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, as the President of Karnataka BJP with effect from 10th of November 2023.
I have met B.Y. Vijayendra in 2018 when he had come to Mysuru hoping to contest from Varuna Constituency for the Assembly election. Of course, that was the only time I had spoken to him and also heard him making election speeches in the villages of Varuna Constituency.
In Varuna, the then Chief Minister Siddharamaiah’s son Dr. Yathindra Siddharamaiah was the early bird and everyone thought it was a cake walk for him. The reason was that the BJP was not finding a candidate who could match Dr. Yathindra and challenge him.
However, it was in this context BJP honchos in Karnataka assumed that the then BJP President B.S. Yediyurappa’s son B.Y. Vijayendra would be an ideal candidate to fight and win against Siddharamaiah’s son Dr. Yathindra.
Of course, Vijayendra’s name was not announced but he had already started canvassing in Varuna Constituency and had also taken a huge bungalow on rent for him to stay in Mysuru near Varuna. The BJP party workers were in their battle gear raring to go to the field. It was a case of ‘Enter the Dragon.’
During this period, I had visited a few villages along with Vijayendra and his local BJP leaders as a journalist to cover his campaign. Though Vijayendra’s candidature was not announced officially, the campaign was launched sure in the thought that announcement would be made soon.
If you look at the politics of any country, whether under monarchy, dictatorship or democracy, there will always be an element of unpredictability about the power and position of the players in the Palace or in the Parliament or in the Party. In the present case too, the most unpredictable happened when Vijayendra’s father B.S. Yediyurappa, who came to announce his son’s candidature for Varuna at a huge public meeting arranged in Nanjangud. To everybody’s shock and surprise, B.S. Yediyurappa made a U-turn and announced that Vijayendra would not contest from Varuna Constituency. Needless to say that made Dr. Yathindra Siddharamaiah’s victory a foregone conclusion and indeed it was when votes were counted.
Now from 2018 to 2023, in the intervening five years, B.Y. Vijayendra had taken many avatars in the BJP party. He was the Vice-President of the Party’s Youth Wing and has also held various positions in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP. But most important was his election as an MLA from Shikaripura in Shivamogga in the elections held during May this year.
Vijayendra by qualification is a Law graduate and said to have practiced as an advocate for sometime. Unlike many politicians, he seems politically well-matured for his age and experience, speaking always in a measured manner, thinking before speaking rather than speaking before thinking of the pros and cons like many of our BJP politicians. The victory in a number of by-elections he worked is a testimony for his ability in electoral battles.
Probably, considering all these qualities in him, the BJP High Command seems to have chosen the right person for the right job at the most critical period of BJP in Karnataka.
There is no doubt Vijayendra will recharge and rejuvenate a fragmented and almost emasculated Karnataka BJP and in all probability lead a victory march to the Parliament House in New Delhi after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Jai Ho Vijayendra
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