Karnataka: BJP picks BS Yediyurappa as 'mascot' for Assembly polls
In election-bound Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has reportedly decided to pick BS Yediyurappa as a key poll mascot along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yediyurappa, who built the party from the grassroots level in the state, has announced his retirement from electoral politics but might have been picked as the poll campaign mascot due to his mass appeal and popularity in Karnataka.
Why does this story matter?
- With just a couple of months left for the much-anticipated 2023 Assembly elections in Karnataka, poll campaigning is in full swing in the southern state.
- Polls for the 224-seat Assembly are reportedly set to take place by May this year.
- It is worth noting that this development comes barely a few days after PM Modi's recent visit to the poll-bound state.
Know about BJP's collective approach ahead of Karnataka polls
Unlike the 2018 election campaign, when Yediyurappa was the face of the BJP and its chief minister candidate, the party has now opted for a collective approach after its initial attempts to pitch current CM Basavaraj Bommai's leadership, reported PTI. With Yediyurappa now becoming the campaign "poster boy," Bommai's stake seems to have weakened, as per poll observers and people within the BJP.
BJP looking to strengthen Veerashaiva-Lingayats vote bank
According to news agency PTI, the saffron brigade's decision to go back to the Lingayat strongman might be down to its attempts to keep the Lingayat vote bank intact, reducing anti-incumbency and also countering the Congress, which has often made allegations of corruption against the BJP-led state government. Notably, Veerashaiva-Lingayats account for around 17% of Karnataka's population and form the BJP's major vote share.
Top BJP leadership's take on Yediyurappa
It is also worth noting that top BJP leaders like Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP National President JP Nadda, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and PM Modi have been showering praise on the Yediyurappa during their recent public rallies in the state. As per party sources, retaining the Lingayat vote base is vital for the BJP to win the polls with an absolute majority.
Modi's special birthday present to Yediyurappa
In a recent heartwarming gesture towards Yediyurappa, who celebrated his 80th birthday on Monday, Modi asked people at the gathering in Karnataka's Belagavi to turn on their phone flashlights to extend birthday wishes to the ex-Karnataka CM. "Today is special for one more reason. It's the birthday of Karnataka's popular leader BS Yediyurappa. I pray for his long life," said Modi.
Inspiration for everyone: Modi on Yediyurappa's speech
During his Karnataka visit on February 27, Modi praised Yediyurappa for his last Assembly speech. "The life of BS Yediyurappa as well as his speech in the Assembly has always inspired me and others, who are in public life. He will keep inspiring the coming generations," Modi said. "His speech at the Karnataka Assembly last week was an inspiration for everyone in public life."
Yediyurappa's resignation as Karnataka CM
On July 26, 2021, Yediyurappa officially handed in his resignation as the Karnataka CM. His age was considered a major reason for the 80-year-old's exit as the chief minister, as there's an unwritten rule within the saffron party of keeping people aged over 75 from elected offices. Furthermore, the party's central leadership desired to make way for new administration ahead of the Assembly elections.
Kejriwal urges people of Karnataka to give AAP chance
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recently appealed to the people of Karnataka to give Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) one chance to provide a corruption-free government for the next five years. "We are staunch honest. We will give a corruption-free government. We will give free electricity, build good government schools and provide quality education," he said on Saturday.
Kejriwal takes aim at BJP
Taking aim at the ruling BJP, Kejriwal claimed that a 40% commission government is operating in Karnataka. "The people of Karnataka are good but the leaders are not. They defamed and destroyed the state before the world. There is a 40% commission government here in which 40% cut is taken in every public work," alleged the AAP chief.