Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is on an official visit to the city to attend various events, on Friday met Karnataka BJP strongman and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, at his residence here for breakfast and held discussions.The meeting between the two leaders gains significance as the Election Commission is expected to announce the schedule for the Assembly elections in Karnataka, due by May, in the next few days, and the party is in the process of finalising candidates for the polls. Yediyurappa, the octogenarian leader, who is also a member of the party's Parliamentary Board, its top decision-making body, had been touring across the state as part of the 'Vijaya Sankalpa Yatre' in recent weeks.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, state BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel, party's General Secretary in charge of Karnataka Arun Singh, Yediyurappa's younger son and party's state Vice-President B Y Viayendra were among those present at the breakfast meet. On arriving at Yediyurappa's residence, Shah insisted on receiving the flower bouquet from Vijayandra first, when Yediyurappa approached. He then patted on Vijayendra's back and accepted Yediyurappa's greetings.This is being seen by some within the party as Shah acknowledging Vijayendra's contribution to the party, and him possibly contesting in the upcoming Assembly polls.
There were earlier reports that Yediyurappa was upset as Vijayendra, considered his political heir apparent, was not given any "prominent position" in the party and was not inducted into the cabinet by making him an MLC, after his stepping down as the Chief Minister in 2021. While announcing that he will not contest Assembly polls, Yediyurappa in the same breath had said that he will be vacating his Shikaripura Assembly seat, from where Vijayendra will be contesting, if the high command agreed. Vijayendra's elder brother B Y Raghavendra is BJP MP from Shivamogga.
The BJP seems to be falling back on its seasoned oarsman Yediyurappa making him a key poll mascot, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as it shores up campaign in poll-bound Karnataka. The reasons are not far to seek as to why Yediyurappa has been pushed to the top of the campaign plank: The four-time Chief Minister, who built the party from grassroots level, has a mass appeal and connect -- particularly with the political influential Lingayat community -- that no other party leader in the State commands.