Bangalore: B.S. Yeddyurappa, whose tenure as Chief Minister was marked by charges of corruption and nepotism, on Thursday rejoined BJP merging his Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) with it, a year after his exit from the parent party.
It was a low profile homecoming for Yeddyurappa at a function at the BJP state headquarters here, as the party seeks to revive its fortunes in Lok Sabha polls with his pan state image combined with his appeal as Lingayat strongman.
Yeddyurappa was welcomed by state unit President Prahlad Joshi and other senior state leaders, as he was given primary membership of BJP, with which he had snapped his four decades old association to form KJP in December 2012.
"Let us forget the past....let us remove mutual suspicion and work together as the children of a mother", said Yeddyurappa, who announced KJP-BJP merger a week ago, capping unity efforts after central leadership gave the green signal.
Indicted by Lokayukta over illegal mining issue, BJP top brass had forced a reluctant Yeddyurappa to quit as Chief Minister in July 2011. Unforgiving and bitter, Yeddyurappa had left his successors D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar, both his choice, in a state of instability before forming KJP.
KJP wrecked ruling BJP's chances retaining power in the May Assembly polls winning six seats and 10 per cent vote share but failed to expand its political space, leaving an uncertain future for Yeddyurappa. His return is being used by BJP's rivals to puncture its anti-corruption claims.
In his speech at the welcome ceremony, Yeddyurappa said 'certain wrong decisions' on their part had brought Congress back to power in Karnataka, which was an 'unpardonable crime'.
Yeddyurappa said the Congress was facing 'bankruptcy' of leadership and the country was craving for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to become the Prime Minister.
Sending out a message that he was raring to go, Yeddyurappa, perceived to be an energetic leader, set the target of winning more than 20 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, where the party won 19 in the last polls.
He said BJP should go to Lok Sabha polls telling the people, "pardon our mistakes. We will not repeat them."
"We have come together with an open mind," said Joshi, after welcoming Yeddyurappa in the presence of former Chief Ministers D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar and national General Secretary Ananth Kumar.
Along with Yeddyurappa, his trusted aide Shobha Karandlaje and three of KJP's six MLAs - Vishwanth Patil, U.B. Banakar and C.M. Udasi - also joined BJP. Another MLA Gurupadappa Nagmarpally will join BJP at Bidar, party said.
Ananth Kumar, who was perceived as a bete noire of Yeddyurappa and considered a stumbling block for his re-entry earlier said, "We will never separate. We will be together. We will fight together."...