Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice-president BY Vijayendra, who was at the helm of party affairs when his father BS Yediyurappa was the Chief Minister, now finds himself cornered. While on one hand we saw party leaders, MLAs and ministers campaigning together for the upcoming bypolls in Sindagi and Hangal, the 45-year-old leader was seen canvassing independently.
Former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa held two rounds of campaigning in each constituency, however, his younger son sought votes in Sindagi on October 22, 23 and in Hangal on 24,25 and 26th of this month.
What is interesting here is, over a dozen cabinet ministers who were made in-charges worked in tandem, but, same was not the case with Vijayendra, who campaigned solo and sought votes for the party candidates barring a couple of places.
It is also important to note that the BJP had earlier not named him in the in-charges list of either of the constituencies. His name was later added as one of the in-charges for Hangal bypoll after uproar from his supporters.
Despite being the in-charge of Hangal bypoll, Vijayendra had stayed away from campaigning all these days. He jumped into the ring only last week.
When asked about the reason for the delay in hitting the campaign trail, Vijayendra said that he is following the schedule given by the party.
“I am following the directions of the state party president. After campaigning in Sindagi, I campaigned in Hangal. However, Vijayendra is not important here. BS Yediyurappa has already fiercely campaigned in both the places. CM along with other ministers too campaigned and the environment is in our favour.”
During the campaign, Vijayendra exuded confidence that the party would emerge victorious in both the seats by a huge margin.
Last week, while speaking in Sindagi, Vijayendra said, “Though the bypolls look like a fight between three parties, in reality, the Congress and JD(S) are battling for their survival. I am confident that both parties will vacate the counting booths once the early trends start coming in on November 2.”
Though Vijayendra is trying to say all is well in the party, BJP insiders say he was asked to campaign in the last leg as the party wanted to avoid any faceoff during the peak of the campaign.
It is no secret that several cabinet ministers in the Yediyurappa government were unhappy with Vijayendra as he was taking calls on his father’s behalf and was reportedly interfering in the work of several ministries.
Speaking with News9, political analyst Chambi Puranik said, BJP might have strategically kept him away.
“It is an open secret that the high command is playing its game. After Yediyurappa stepped down, Vijayendra was sidelined. The party is looking beyond the Yediyurappa family and wants to shine without his shadow. Vijayendra is just a victim of the ploy.”
Earlier, there were reports that Yediyurappa was demanding Basavaraj Bommai to induct his son into his council of ministers but it did not happen.
The recent Income Tax raids on Yediyurappa’s former personal secretary Umesh was also seen as a warning to the Lingayat leader. However, the 78-year-old leader had rubbished it saying raids are not related to politics.
Sindagi and Hangal will vote on October 30 and counting of votes will take place on November 2.