Union Home Minister Amit Shah's meeting with BS Yediyurappa on Friday has once again indicated that ignoring the former Chief Minister in Karnataka politics can be suicidal for the BJP. Amit Shah on Friday visited the former Karnataka CM and his son in Bengaluru. The Home Minister also warmed up to Yeddyurappa's son B Y Vijayendra.
According to reports, the focus of the meeting was that there should not be a hung assembly in Karnataka and that work should be done to form a majority government of the BJP. In the 2008 and 2018 elections, even though BJP remained the number 1 party but could not touch the magic number - 113 seats. It came to power only after Opposition MLAs joined BJP.
Undoubtedly, Yediyurappa is the tallest leader of the BJP in Karnataka. Yediyurappa has however decided not to participate in the elections this time and has asked for a ticket for his son Vijayendra who is very active in his father's constituency Shikaripura.
However, the party is in a Catch-22 situation about giving him a ticket. The reason is - Vijayendra, just like his father, enjoys the support of the Lingayat community. And BJP has understood that its gateway to the South is through Karnataka, which is not possible without the one-time support of the Lingayat community. In such a situation, Vijayendra can't be ignored. Karnataka has 17 per cent Lingayat population and out of 224 seats, this community decides the fate of about 100 seats.
However, other leaders of the party feel that if Yediyurappa is replaced by Vijayendra, then they will never be able to move forward in the party. But the party's top leadership realizes that to ignore Yeddyurappa, at least in these elections, would be to lose the Lingayat vote bank. Although Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai is also a Lingayat, he is not a mass leader and it is clearly visible on the ground that after Yediyurappa the Lingayat community is more inclined towards his son Vijayendra.
This is the reason why BJP's election strategist Amit Shah himself is engaged in making up for this loss.