Karnataka: Not a hero, villain, I'm just a loyal worker, says K.S. Eshwarappa

For me the BJP is like my mother and I will not cheat it till my last breath. I'd rather die in this party than join any other.

I am not a hero or villain, but a loyal soldier of my party. I want to ensure we have a government in which our loyal party workers are legislators and not those, who want to join it merely for the sake of money and power. We want Mr Yeddyurappa to train our loyal party workers from now, so they can become a real asset. But unfortunately our state president is surrounded by people, who praise him day and night only to get their work done. So I could not say no when some leaders came to me and asked that I should inaugurate and address the 'Save Organisation' meeting. For me the BJP is like my mother and I will not cheat it till my last breath. I’d rather die in this party than join any other.

Mr Yeddyurappa claims BJP national joint general secretary Santosh is the mastermind behind the 'Save Organisation' meeting. What do you think?

It is unforgivable to drag Mr Santosh, who has been a full- time pracharak of our party, into this issue. I don’t know why Mr Yeddyurappa thinks he is behind all these developments. Mr Santosh belongs to the RSS and does not meddle in party politics. I want Mr Yeddyurappa to withdraw his statement.

Are you aware that there is a move to remove you from the post of Opposition leader in the Upper House?

Nothing of that sort has come to my notice. Let me tell you that no one can remove me from the post as I have not done anything that has harmed our party’s interests. I am optimistic that our high command will not take such a decision.

Don't you think that the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) will take advantage of the infighting in your party?

Yes, they will certainly try to take advantage of it. In the 2013 Assembly elections, the Congress party came to power as the votes split between the BJP and the Karnataka Janata Party. While we got 40 seats, the KJP bagged six and we lost nearly 30 to 40 seats by a close margin. Mr Siddaramaiah became CM because of the contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and KJP in all assembly segments. This will not happen this time as there is still a year to go for the next state elections.

Do you think that people will vote for the BJP despite all these developments?

Why not? I am always optimistic. I have full confidence that our party leaders will resolve all these issues at the earliest. We will unite again and work day and night to install a BJP government in Karnataka with Mr Yeddyurappa as CM.

But why did
you hold the 'Save Organisation' meeting? Weren’t you targeting Mr Yeddyurappa?

The meeting was held to provide a forum for loyal party workers to air their grievances as they have been suffering silently for the last year. The BJP is a cadre-based and not an individual-centric party. A number of senior party workers were feeling suffocated, especially after Mr Yeddyurappa became the state president. The rank and file of the party celebrated when our party national president, Amit Shah re-admitted him into the party and declared him as the Chief Ministerial candidate. By he changed drastically and began taking unilateral decisions. He built a coterie and neglected those who have worked for the party for the last 20 to 30 years. So they formed a group to assert themselves. This is not wrong according to me as our party believes in the theory “sit , discuss and work together.”

Some believe that you do not want Mr Yeddyurappa to become the Chief Minister if the party is voted back to power.

That’s not true. I have never aspired for the Chief Minister’s post even in my wildest dreams as our party has given me the opportunity to serve as legislator, Minister, Deputy CM and Opposition leader in the Upper House. Yes, Yeddyurappa and I have fought many times in the past. I was his biggest critic when he quit the Bharatiya Janata Party to launch the Karnataka Janata Party. But at the same time we are good friends and have worked together for many years as we hail from the same district. I, however, don’t hesitate to take on anyone who tries to harm the party. I haven’t been happy with Mr Yeddyurappa's style of functioning for the last year and have told him about this several times both in party meetings and personally. He, however, did not change. And I was shocked when two of our loyal party leaders, Sogadu Shivanna and Nandish were served notices for no fault of theirs. Meanwhile, around 24 sitting and former legislators wrote to him seeking replacement of some district presidents. But he claimed not to have received their letter and began to target them. So they decided to hold a meeting in Bengaluru to bring their plight to the notice of the high command. This would not have happened had Mr Yeddyurappa called a meeting to address their grievances.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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