Bengaluru: The state unit of BJP is likely to witness a Vokkaliga leader taking over the reins from former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa in line with the strategy of central leaders to expand the party's footprint across Old Mysore region.
Sources in the state unit of BJP told Deccan Chronicle that post Lok Sabha polls, organizational elections would be held-beginning with booth and mandal levels to the post of president of the state unit as all leaders including Mr Yeddyurappa, who was appointed in April 2016 to lead the party in Karnataka, have completed their term.
During his three-year term, the Lingayat strongman led the party in Assembly polls in 2018 (the party won 104 seats, emerging as the single largest entity, but Mr Yeddyurappa could not muster the magic number of 113 and stepped down as CM after 24 hours in office), and ongoing Lok Sabha elections. In anticipation of a change at the top, several second rung leaders, including former ministers Aravind Limbavali and C T Ravi, are set to lobby for the top post. ,
Sources said changes in the state unit would not be effected abruptly, and therefore would not catch all these aspirants by surprise.
A senior Vokkaliga leader said: "elections will be held to posts in the state unit after August 2019. Our central leaders are likely to consider a Vokkaliga leader for the top post in order to build a strong support base in southern districts and thus complete a pan Karnataka image."
"Our party has been accepted in north, central and coastal parts but we have not been able to win over Vokkaligas in the southern part of the state," he said. "Second rung leaders like Mr Aravind Limbavali and Mr Ravi will not make the cut because they will not be acceptable to senior leaders like Mr Yeddyurappa, Mr Eshwarappa, Mr Jagadish Shettar and Mr Sadananda Gowda," the source said.
Therefore, our party leaders will not take the risk of appointing either of them as state unit chief. Besides, the responsibility of raising funds for the party and taking important decisions on policies and programmes of the coalition government will dictate the choice of the new president of our state unit," the leader added.
The leader pointed out that a Vokkaliga face would be able to shore up the party's prospects in southern districts while other senior leaders including Mr Yeddyurappa would continue to leverage the advantage of occupying leadership position in other parts of the state either during mid-term polls or during Assembly polls in 2023.
Mr Sadananda Gowda was the last Vokkaliga leader to head the state unit when the party won the Assembly polls and formed the first BJP government in the state in 2008....