No casteist, I want to make BS Yeddyurappa CM: KS Eshwarappa

What's ironic is that the two leaders after spewing venom at each other, appear before the media and chant the mantra of unity.

Some BJP workers used to call them the Tom and Jerry of the BJP. Now, with B.S. Yeddyurappa, the BJP state president and Opposition leader in the Council, K.S. Eshwarappa fighting so fiercely over the constitution of the Sangolli Rayanna brigade, many workers feel the party will shoot itself in the foot and lose the opportunity to seize power in 2018.

What’s ironic is that the two leaders after spewing venom at each other, appear before the media and chant the mantra of unity. This has happened at least two or three times in the past.

This time, Mr Eshwarappa is not alone in his tussle with the party top brass with leaders of his fledgling Sangolli Rayanna Brigade a ginger group, likely to create problems for the BJP ahead of the Assembly polls if their demands are not met.

In an interview with Deccan Chronicle, Mr Eshwarappa, the man in the limelight, spoke about the ongoing crisis which has hit the saffron party like a sudden storm and other issues. Here are excerpts.

If one were to speak about Sangolli Rayanna, a historic figure and a hero for the backward classes, he never aspired for power. But, using an organisation named after him, you want to grab power? Is this appropriate?
I understand his philosophy quite well. You are right. He never sought power for himself. But, he fought on behalf of society. He fought for justice. He followed dharma. Therefore, the downtrodden and oppressed found a messiah in him. Under the guidance of pontiffs and sanyaasis, Sangolli Rayanna Brigade (SRB) would like to empower the oppressed, dalits and OBCs. And we want fight for their cause and educate them about their rights.

If so, why was it (brigade) not there before? Why launch it now?
The organisation has been working for quite a long time. Under the guidance of pontiffs and reformers, we are creating awareness among dalits, OBCs and oppressed classes about their rights.

Your intention is suspected by many. Political parties and leaders keep misusing pontiffs, religions and emotions to get power. Many political pundits say, your lust for power made you set up SRB.
If I say I am not fighting for power then I will be lying. One has to seize power to empower these sections. To ensure development, we have to be in power. Farmers, Dalits, OBCs and oppressed classes were denied amenities and their rightful share of development by the Congress party for several decades. If these sections lack awareness, they will not get anything. So, right now, that process is going on.

In the past four or five months, Mr Yeddyurappa hosted caste conventions through the party and you have been going around the state to connect with people through SRB. Many feel that the BJP is indulging in caste politics to cash in on the sentiments of these sections. You have no concrete programme or plan for the development of the state..
No it is wrong. If we had hosted a meeting of one particular caste or single group, you could have accused us of indulging in caste politics. We are creating awareness. What’s wrong in making an attempt to bring a government which they want?

Many in your party suggest that in spite of you working for SRB, your acceptability among OBCs and Dalits is far less compared to that of B.S. Yeddyurappa.
I Am not a castiest, but I am a firm believer in Hindutva. So, I am not worried about my acceptability among castes.

You seem to be in competition with Yeddyurappa to raise your approval rating, isn't it?
No, your interpretation is wrong. I am creating awareness among these people about their rights. We do not know which party they will support in the next elections. I cannot say whether they will support even the BJP.

This is precisely the point. You are the head of a suicide squad within the BJP who want to reduce the party to a position wherein it has to depend on others to come to power. You don't want the party to get anything above 125 seats...
No, absolutely not. Some mad people can say this. I am very clear in my mind about what I am doing. We will work to bring back the party to power and make Yeddyurappa the CM. There are no second thoughts on this.

Your main grouse is that Yeddyurappa has not consulted anyone while appointing office bearers. Party leaders and seniors say, when former BJP organising secretary Santhosh was running the show in the state BJP, the situation wasn't different. He too was autocratic in his functioning. Then, what is the point in you raising your voice now?
The issue is not about individuals but about following traditions and precedents. The second part is very important. We have a tradition of holding consultations and evolving a consensus on party matters. Whether it was Ananth Kumar or Jagadish Shettar, whoever led the party in the past, followed this tradition. We feel, this time around, it did not happen while appointing the office bearers.

Many in the party say that it is Mr Santhosh who is the key behind your activity and he spoon-feeds you on carrying out the rebellion against Mr Yeddyurappa...
(pauses) I think some mad people say this. Don't drag him in because he is in no way connected with any of the issues or activities. He does not dictate terms to me, I am an independent person having long enough experience in public life.
God has given me energy and a brain to think. I pray to god to give good sense to those who cook up such stories.

Many in the party feel that if you are assured an Assembly ticket from Shivamogga in the next polls, you will give up the rebellion. Is it true?
The issue is not about Eshwarappa contesting from Shivamogga, Yeddyurappa contesting from Shikaripura or Ashok contesting from Bengaluru. There is no need to discuss these issues because there is no confusion. This is a media creation.

There is a point in it. In the last election in 2013, you came third in your constituency and therefore, you are worried about your future..
In the last election, the situation was different. The BJP and the now defunct KJP fought each other and the Congress won the Assembly seat. Frankly speaking, through the KJP, Mr Yeddyurappa defeated me.

That’s an interesting point about Mr Yeddyurappa defeating you in the last Assembly poll. Then in the next Assembly election too, he may defeat you considering the tussle between you and him..
No, no. Then, he was in a rival party. I know him very well that he will never betray party candidates or the party in any election.

On seeing the infighting in the party, people may arrive at a conclusion that a party which has so many contradictions when in the opposition, may not live up to expectations if they come to power. They may even decide not to bring the BJP to power and vote for someone else.
Neither I nor Yeddyurappa are happy with the development. I think once party national leaders sit together to discuss the controversial issues, a solution can be worked out.

People are so upset with the Congress that they want BJP to come back to power. I am sure we will come back to power and give good governance.

Finally, senior RSS leader Dattatreya Hosabale had held a meeting to iron out differences between you and Yeddyurappa. What actually transpired in the meeting?
The information you got was wrong. Dattaji never held a meeting.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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