Invoking the name of Narendra Modi, a mellowed B S Yeddyurappa is fighting a critical electoral battle of his career from Shimoga Lok Sabha constituency to re-establish his dominance within BJP and state politics.
In his second bid to enter Parliament from Shimoga after the failed attempt in 1991, Yeddyurappa is leaving nothing to chance though his rivals from JDS and Congress are greenhorns.
Congress and JDS are using the weapon of corruption against Yeddyurappa, whose name is often invoked by BJP’s opponents at the national level to deflate the party’s anti- graft plank.
Yeddyurappa, who has often made it clear that he was not keen on entering the arena but the party, persuaded him to do so, is invoking the name of Narendra Modi, saying his wave is here as elsewhere.
71-year-old Yeddyurappa is facing a serious challenge from JDS’ Githa Shivarajkumar, former Chief Minister late S Bangarappa’s daughter, who has described herself as “clean and fresh” candidate.
His Congress rival is a newcomer and a young party worker Manjunath Bhandari who was office bearer in KPCC at Bangalore. His candidature has left a bitter taste in the local unit, particularly with Kumar Bangarappa, son of Bangarappa, who had also tried for the ticket to contest the elections.
Shimoga seat was held by Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra and the leader with the pan state appeal was persuaded by his party to contest the Lok Sabha polls, hoping his presence would prove beneficial to BJP. He had played spoilsport to BJP in the 2013 Assembly polls when he secured 10 per cent vote share for his Karnataka Janatha Party (KJP).
After having re-entered BJP with hard bargaining and good deal of compromise, Yeddyurappa is now trying to find his space within the organisation despite his four-decade-old association that ended when he walked out to float KJP. In this backdrop, the battle now is crucial for him.
He is seeking votes on the basis of his performance as Chief Minister, heading the first-ever BJP government in the South which went into a self-destruct mode with open infighting and corruption charges against several ministers, some even landing in jail.
He is aided by a well-oiled party machinery manned by the strong cadre base which is carrying out a well-organised campaign and his RSS background from the age of 15 standing him in good stead in organisation and management.
Building BJP in Karnataka, Yeddyurappa had crafted his political ascent that brought him the Chief Minister’s post which he lost in July 2011 after the party directed him to resign after the Lokayukta report indicted him on corruption charge linked to illegal mining.