Bengaluru, April 12: Admitting that the Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP) paid for its “mistakes” in Kartaka in the 2013 assembly polls, union minister and former Kartaka Chief Minister D.V. Sadanda Gowda has said that the party is getting its act together to return to power in the state in the elections three years from now. “The BJP will come back in Kartaka. This is better for the state and the people know it,” Gowda, who is the Law Minister, told IANS in an interview here. The Bharatiya Jata Party formed its first government in south India in Kartaka between 2008 and 2013. However, the party lost the 2013 assembly elections reduced to a measly 40 seats in the 224 member assembly.
“We lost due to our mistakes... Because of the interl problems, we lost Kartaka. But the support base is still there,” Gowda contended. Gowda had taken over as chief minister in August 2011 after B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned after the state Lokayukta indicted him for his involvement in a mining scam. While Yeddyurappa had handpicked Gowda, they fell out and Jagdish Shettar became the chier minister in July 2012.
Yeddyurappa, a popular leader who belongs to the strong Lingayat community, broke off from the BJP before the 2013 assembly polls to form his own party. While the BJP was decimated, Yeddyurappa’s Kartaka Jata Paksha could win only six seats. Yeddyurappa returned to the BJP ahead of last year’s Lok Sabha elections and is now one of its vice presidents. According to sources, he is likely to be given a prominent position in the state party once the court cases against him are decided.
Asked if Yeddyurappa is likely to be the party’s chief ministerial candidate party in 2018 assembly polls, Gowda said: “He is already at an important position in the party.” Gowda said that the ruling Congress was bogged down by “infighting” and the people were suffering due to the state government’s “poor performance”. “In a short span, people are tired of the Congress. The fighting within the party has left the people in lurch,” Gowda claimed. “BJP is better for Kartaka and we will soon come back to power,” he added. The BJP held in Bengaluru earlier this month its first tiol executive meeting since the rendra Modi government came to power last May. The meeting was held in Bengaluru with an ostensible aim to expand in the south, where the party is relatively weak.
Asked about the party’s expansion plans in the southern states, Gowda said the BJP’s membership campaign is getting “a good response” and hoped it will convert into votes.
He said the party’s membership in Kerala had reached 23 lakh. “These are states where we had no base, we are expecting a major change in the coming elections,” he said. (IANS)