New Delhi, Apr 21: The BJP lost the Assembly bypolls for Nanjangud and Gundlupet seats because the party state unit chief B S Yeddyurappa did not project Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s "good work" during the campaign, his detractors have told the central leaders.
A section of BJP leaders from Karnataka, who are opposed to Yeddyurappa, said his style of campaigning and his failure to highlight the achievements of the Modi government led to the defeat of the BJP candidates in the two constituencies.
They have also complained to the central leaders about Yeddyurappa’s close associate Shobha Karandlaje and Mysore MP and state BJP Yuva Morcha president Pratap Simha.
"Instead of highlighting the achievements of the prime minister such as demonetisation, Mudra Yojana, free LPG connection, rural electrification and other pro-poor programmes to seek votes, Yeddyurappa sought votes for himself,” a senior leader said. As the campaign intensified, it turned out to be a battle between Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Yeddyurappa, the BJP leaders have told the party top brass here.
Their contention is that Shobha was behind Yeddyurappa’s decision not to rope in other senior leaders for the bypoll campaign. They also held that the state BJP Yuva Morcha has become non-functional due to lack of interest shown by Pratap Simha.
“The BJP failed to garner more votes in Lingayat majority villages and this has raised questions about Yeddyurappa’s popularity within his own community,” said a senior leader. These leaders, who are identified with the Sangolli Rayanna Brigade headed by senior BJP leader K S Eshwarappa, are also planning to meet in Bengaluru on April 27 to discuss the future course of action. They have also invited Eshwarappa to the meeting. “If the high command permits, we are ready to come to Delhi to meet party president Amit Shah and explain the party affairs in the state,” a senior leader said.
Despite Shah asking Yeddyurappa to tour all the districts and set right the anomalies in the party office-bearers’ list, nothing has moved on this front, the rebel leaders said. They said the BJP organisation in the state has to be revamped to prepare the party for the 2018 Assembly elections.