Bengaluru: Several factors, including his hold over Lingayats across the state and his stature as the unquestionable crowd-puller among party leaders in Karnataka, will force senior central leaders of BJP to keep their hands off former CM B.S. Yeddyurappa despite a dismal performance in last week's bypolls and many leaders, including former minister Sogadu Shivanna,
Top sources in the party attributed his continuance at the top of the state unit to the ‘TINA’ factor adding there could be no alternative to Mr Yeddyurappa for some time. “We cannot commit a blunder by replacing him with a leader belonging to another caste or community. Moreover, he is a mass leader and very popular among voters. So, the party's central leadership may show leniency towards him at least till next year’s Lok Sabha polls,” sources added.
Sources also explained how he could go untouched in case he ensures that the BJP wins 17 Lok Sabha seats or enhances the tally by an additional seat or two next year's elections. “If he managed to lead the party to victory in 17 or more Lok Sabha seats, our central leaders will allow him to carry on as state unit president for some more time,” sources added.
Leaders who spoke on the condition of anonymity said during the recent bypolls, he banked on former minister B Sriramulu's popularity and mass appeal, which he felt, would turn the contest in BJP's favour in Ballari. Mr Yeddyurappa's camp followers felt their leaders should not be blamed as he could not field candidates of his choice in Jamkhandi and Ramanagara and therefore should not be blamed for the defeat in these two Assembly segments.
His camp followers also rubbished allegations by some state unit leaders that Mr Yeddyurappa pulled out all stops to help his son B Y Raghavendra retain Shivammoga at the expense of party candidates in other constituencies, and did not spend same amount of time in Mandya, Ballari, Jamkhandi and Ramanagara constitiuences.
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