Days ahead of its formal launch, the fledgling Karnataka Janata Party headed by former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today got a glamorous touch with popular Kannada movie heroine Pooja Gandhi joining the party after quitting JDS.
Pooja, who has to her credit box office hits like "Mungaru Male", quit JDS to join KJP.
"I am impressed by the leadership of Yeddyurappa and his programmes for the welfare of women and the girl child. Since my personal honour and pride suffered a dent, I decided to quit JDS", she told reporters after she was welcomed into KJP.
KJP will be launched at a rally at Haveri on December 9.
Special Analysis in Mangalorean.com about KJP chances in DK.
Tough statements that strict action would be taken against those identifying themselves with the KJP led by former CM Yeddyurappa have have been issued during the past few days by former CM Sadananda Gowda, who is expected to be made the state president of the BJP soon, and current incumbent and dyCM K S Eshwarappa.
Yet there seems to be apprehensions at the state level that if action is taken against so many, there would not be many MLAs and MLCs left in the party. Hence the state leaders are treading a cautious path now. CM Shettar, DVS, Eshwarappa and a few others are expected to airdash to the national capital by a special flight to convince the high command to go slow on disciplinary action against BSY supporters.
Although a list of 50 to 70 supporters had been prepared for disciplinary action, a carrot-and-stick policy is being used by offering party tickets in advance to herd them together. The axe might fall on just about 15 staunch BSY supporters. Even that might also endanger the survival of the Shettar government.
Latest intelligence reports from DK has created a minor stir among the BJP higher-ups at the state level. Already some powerful former leaders of the BJP in the district have joined the KJP officially. They include advocate and independent MCC corporator Mariamma Thomas, who is capable of influencing quite a few Christian votes.
There were reports that at one stage Mangalore north MLA and former minister Krishna Palemar had almost decided to cross over to the KJP but the party higher-ups have succeeded in convincing him to stay back. A latest report says many buses carrying KJP supporters would ply from here a day before the Haveri meet.
Mariamma's joining the KJP at this juncture is of special significance as the Congress party has been traditionally fielding Christian candidates all through the years. She had been denied a ticket by the BJP in the last MCC elections. She proved her worth by winning as an independent candidate, with the Christian community standing solidly behind her after the Church attacks of 2008. Incidentally, with her entry into the KJP, the new party has a representation in the MCC.
Mogaveras and OBCs
Another prominent person is Ramachandra Baikampady, a fisheries community leader and former head of the fisheries wing of the party. Although he had been a long-standing BJP loyalist, there is another loyalty element which had the better of the party affiliation.
Baikampady reportedly had to undergo an open-heart surgery a few years ago. Yeddyurappa had footed the bill from his personal funds and Baikampady is ever grateful to him. Speaking in private circle, he said that he owed his being alive to BSY and has equated the former CM to god in his personal perspective since no one else had come to his rescue in his hour of crisis.
Many Muslim leaders like Aziz Baikampady have jumped into the Yeddyurappa bandwagon. There are others like Hameed Kandak from Congress, who has felt sidelined by the party. He is said to be planning to take a busful of supporters to Haveri to take part in the KJP meet on Dec 9. Backward Classes Commission chairman N B Abubaker owes his seat to Yeddyurappa. He too is said to be on the verge of joining KJP.
A major factor worrying the BJP strategists is the Dhananjaya Kumar factor. He may not have many admirers at the state or the district level. But BSY has made him interim party president and this could attract a large number of Jain votes to the KJP. Kumar is already in touch with prominent Jain leaders asking for a change in the political scenario of the state.
The community is cross to some extent since former MUDA chairman Suresh Ballal has been eluded by a chance of contesting the assembly election for many years. It is because Congress already has a powerful Jain leader in Moodbidri-Mulki MLA Abhayachandra. Hence Ballal has not been given a ticket. There is a general impression among the public that Ballal could capture a large number of votes from all parties and communities, including Bunts and Billawas, whichever symbol he contested from. But the caste considerations have worked in his not getting a chance.
Sources in the BJP have said that the community has a chance this time to send a strong signal about its clout by tilting the votes hither or thither. Dhananjaya Kumar is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the BJP's defeat of the BJP candidates. His community is known to keep its unity in such matters regardless of party affiliations. This is what has worried the BJP's think-tank.
The caste factors are going to play a big role in the coming elections.
Signs of many mla's distancing themselves from yeddyurappa has slowly started.He had only 22 mlas in the tea party called in the morning. And only 14 turned out at dias. You will see some more people added/subtracted from those numbers. Like i thought when the intial hype subsides,then the actual problems of Yedyurappa will start.This is just the begining.
quite possible. But if you see most of the members of belgaum,bijapur,koppal,raichur and many from gulbarga are being carefull. Are BJP members expecting backlash from other communities f they join KJP? Time will answer.