Bangalore: They arrived in private cars. Even their trusted lieutenants were kept in the dark. But when former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his bete noire turned newfound ally, H.N. Ananth Kumar got together for an hour at a posh hotel here, it not only ended the chill that had pushed the Lingayat strongman to break with the mother party, but also to strategize for the Lok Sabha polls now that they were on the same side again.
Sources in the BJP confirmed the leaders met on January 3, a full 24 hours after BSY was formally invited to rejoin the party.
The secret meet was in fact, at Ananth Kumar's initiative, ahead of BSY's formal entry to the BJP on Jan. 9, and the mega rally planned to celebrate his return on Jan. 11 in Davangere.
The two men even exchanged notes on which leaders in the party, benefited most from the differences between them.
Sources said two factors prompted Ananth Kumar to bury the hatchet:
One, he requires the former chief minister's support to swing two to three Lingayat-dominated Assembly segments of Bangalore (South) Lok Sabha constituency;
Two, only an honourable entry for BSY would bring his staunch supporters, needed for electioneering, on board.
BSY, Ananth met to heal ‘wounds’
Bangalore: A day after BJP national general secretary and Bangalore South MP H.N. Ananth Kumar joined his state unit colleagues in inviting former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa back to the party, he held a hush-hush meeting with the Lingayat strongman at a posh hotel in Bangalore not only to bury their differences but also to evolve a joint strategy for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Sources in BJP said the two leaders kept this meeting a top secret, and even arrived in private cars at the hotel on January 3.
Sources close to Yeddyurappa confirmed news about the closed-door meeting with Ananth Kumar.
In fact, Ananth Kumar took the initiative for a one-on-one meeting with the former chief minister after extending a formal invitation to him to return to the BJP.
At the meeting, both leaders elaborately discussed about latest developments in the state BJP unit, and decided to set the house in order before the Lok Sabha elections.
They also agreed that some leaders had benefited because of the differences between them.
They agreed to shed their egos and work together to strengthen the party.
They turned nostalgic as they discussed their association since the early ‘90s, and how they toured the state extensively to build the party from a scratch, the sources added.
The sources said Ananth Kumar took the initiative to break the ice with Yeddyurappa for two reasons: one, he would require the former chief minister’s support to woo voters in Lingayat-dominated Assembly segments of Bangalore (South) Lok Sabha constituency which he has won as many as five times in the past.
Second, some of Ananth Kumar’s supporters threatened to keep away from the election campaign in case their leader did not play a role in ensuring the smooth return of Yeddyurappa, the sources added.