Karnataka: Brigade brews bitter battle in BJP

Sangolli Rayanna Brigade leaders condemn suspension of ex-mayor Venkateshmurthy, say this will not deter them.

Bengaluru: A major confrontation could well be on the cards within the state unit of BJP with leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, K S Eshwarappa, slamming state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa for suspension of his lieutenant and leader of Sangolli Rayanna Brigade (SRB), T. Venkateshmurthy, on Wednesday.

A day after the suspension of Mr Venkateshmurthy, a former Mayor of Bengaluru from the BJP for anti-party activity, members' of SRB gathered here to protest against the "autocratic" style of functioning of Mr Yeddyurappa and his team. Speaking up on the manner in which Mr Venkateshmurthy was suspended for anti-party activities', Mr Eshwarappa charged that Mr Yeddyurappa was insecure about the SRB leader.

He remarked sarcastically: "I congratulate Mr Yeddyurappa for turning Mr Venkateshmurthy into a state leader by suspending him from the party. I cannot understand Mr. Yeddyurappa's misconceptions about SRB. Initially, he agreed to the launch of SRB, but now he is opposing the forum. Mr. Venkateshmurthy is loyal worker of our party. The party has suspended him without even issuing a show-cause notice. So why does the party need a disciplinary committee? I personally want Mr. Yeddyurappa to be elected the Chief Minister, but he does not want our support. Thus, SRB has decided to pledge its support to parties which support the cause of the backward classes" he added.

He reiterated that members of SRB would continue to meet, and none could stop their activities.

Other leaders of SRB targeted state unit leader and former deputy chief minister R. Ashok and Union parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar, alleging that these leaders too were responsible for the suspension of Mr. Venkateshmurthy.

SRB member and Advocate N.P. Amruthesh said "the party will face the consequences in 2018 Assembly elections for suspending Mr Venkateshmurthy. If the party suspends a prominent leader for conducting a small meeting, how can the party stop a mega convention of SRB which is scheduled to take place at Kudalasangama on January 26?," asked Mr Amruthesh.

SRB spokesperson Mukudappa said: "Venkateshmurthy need not worry about his suspension as more than 70 per cent of people of the Kuruba community are with him."

On his part, Mr. Venkateshmurthy remarked "I will continue as a loyal worker of the BJP, but will continue to participate in SRB meetings in the future."

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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