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Vijayendra for Legislative Council- A bid to revive saffron party in Karnataka?

The election to the seven seats of the Legislative Council will be held on June 3, and if his name is cleared this would be the debut of the state BJP vice president as a legislator.

Shashi Kant Sharma | New Delhi |

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) core committee’s decision to recommend to the Central election committee the name of BY Vijayendra, son of the former chief minister B S Yediurappa for the Legislative Council polls, is being seen as a deft move by the top leadership to rejuvenate the party while preparing for the ensuing assembly elections due next year.

The election to the seven seats of the Legislative Council will be held on June 3, and if his name is cleared this would be the debut of the state BJP vice president as a legislator.

Observers feel that a positive development in his favour may well pave the way for his induction into the Karnataka Cabinet thus projecting him as a key player in the coming elections.

While his critics may have earlier derided him by calling Vijayendra the Super Chief Minister when his father was at the helm of affairs, he has proved his mettle to the party on several occasions.

His mass base and popularity amongst the youth is a key factor, playing out in his favour, that may well intend to project him as the party’s face in the coming times.

Observers feel, that giving prominence to the young leader, who his supporters claim, has been instrumental in the party’s commendable performance in the by-elections in the state, seems to be part of a well thought out plan for the party in view of the impending assembly and then later general elections in 2024.

His supporters mention that under Vijayendra’s leadership BJP won 12 out of 15 assembly by-elections when his father Yediyurappa was the chief minister. Prominent amongst these victories were from K.R. Pete and Sira assembly seats from where the BJP candidates earlier had failed to save even their security. Notably, K.R. Pete’s seat is not a Lingayat-dominated sea, to which Vijayndra belongs, and is a Vokkaliga-dominated seat, thus proving that Vijayendra has influence in other communities as well.

There is a big vacuum in Karnatka’s BJP leadership after Yediyurappa’s departure when he resigned from the chief ministership and the BJP will now have to look for a new leader, with a larger base.

BJP insiders claim that the top leadership has also been receiving feedback that for ensuring victory in the coming elections, the party would need the active involvement and support of Yediyurappa’s family, particularly Vijayendra, who has emerged stronger despite his criticism by his opponents.

Political analysts recall that in 2011 too when Yediyurappa was forced to leave BJP, Sadananda Gowda became the Chief Minister while later Jagadish Shettar became the next Chief Minister.

Despite being from the Lingayat community, Shettar had failed to establish himself as a strong leader as was Yediyurappa. No wonder then the party had to take B.S. Yediyurappa back into the party fold. A similar situation seems to be emerging again in Karnataka as the present Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has been unable to make a significant impact and already speculations are rife about his replacement.

Drawing a parallel with the situation of Congress in Himachal Pradesh, where it had to bank on the family of the former chief minister and party stalwart Vir Bhadra Singh, for filling up the leadership vacuum, observers mention, that there is a big void in the Karnatka’s politics, which the top leadership seems to have realised can not be filled without the active involvement of Yediyurappa’s family. So the present move may well be a plan to rehabilitate the Yediurappa family and bring Vijayendra from the background to the forefront.

For the time being all eyes are on the outcome of elections for seven seats of the legislative council, which are slated to be held on June 3. Does the saffron party have any other surprise in store to win elections, only time will tell.