Badly mauled in the Assembly elections, with B S Yeddyurappa doing a significant damage to the party's prospects, the BJP in Karnataka says there is no proposal as of now for the return of the former party strongman to its fold.
However, if such a proposal about Yeddyurappa's return to BJP is floated, the party's central leadership will deal with it, says state BJP President Prahlad Joshi.
"As of now there is no proposal," Joshi, whose party was unseated by the Congress, pushing the BJP to suffer the ignominy of sharing the second spot with JDS in terms of the seats won (40 in the 224-member assembly), told PTI.
BJP was swept away by the anti-incumbency with Congress securing 121 seats to return to power without any clutches after seven years. Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janatha Paksha (KJP) secured only six seats but with 10 per cent vote share, it ensured the decimation of BJP.
Yeddyurappa, who was forced to resign as chief minister following his indictment by Lokayukta in its report on illegal mining, quit the BJP last December and floated the KJP.
Asked if there were any chances that Yeddyurappa would return, as former chief ministers Kalyan Singh, Madan Lal Khurana and Uma Bharti had done in the past, Joshi said, "That is not my cup of tea, it is central leadership's. I can only say no such proposal is before the party for now."
Joshi admitted that Yeddyurappa's KJP and B Sriramulu's BSR Congress chipped away BJP's votes in no small measure.
"The trifurcation of traditional BJP votes have caused major damage to us," he added.
"Our leader (Yeddyurappa) then could not control infighting and immoral acts. The party had to face anti-incumbency because of a person (Yeddyurappa) who eventually left the party," Joshi added.
Moreover, the party failed to project the developmental work convincingly to the people, Joshi said, adding that it also failed to persuade the voter about Congress "misrule" at the Centre.
Asked about the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Joshi said that Congress will face anti-incumbency factor for being enmeshed in several corruption charges at the Centre and BJP would retain as many seats which it won in last Parliament elections in the state.
"Congress is having so much of negative atmosphere on issues of corruption, national security and terrorism. We will encash on all these issues and are confident we will win as many seats as we had won in the last general elections," he said.
Joshi said the central and state elections are fought on different issues and their results do not have a bearing on the other.
Replying to a query, Joshi said the KJP and BSR Congress will not have any relevance in the Lok Sabha elections scheduled next year.
Asked about his plans to bring back the party on track in Karnataka in trying times such as this, Joshi said he would try to retrieve the "party-with-a-difference" image and convince people that Congress was the "most corrupt" party.
Responding to a question on who is likely to be the BJP Legislature Party Leader, especially after former Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa losing elections from Shimoga and the party on the verge of losing main opposition party tag, Joshi said the LP leader would be elected on May 14.
"There are so many leaders, including former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar", he said.