Bangalore: Karnataka BJP leaders late Thursday met former leader B.S. Yeddyurappa here and formally asked him to return to the party, over a year after he quit to head the Karnataka Janata Party.
State Bharatiya Janata Party president Pralhad Joshi, Bangalore South MP H.N. Ananth Kumar, former chief minister Jagadish Shettar and former state unit chief K. S. Eshwarappa and others met Yeddyurappa at a posh hotel and discussed details of the merger of KJP with BJP.
Joshi told reporters after the meeting that Yeddyurappa has agreed to merge KJP with BJP.
The merger process is expected to be completed within a week, he said.
Yeddyurappa said within two or three days the merger of KJP with BJP will be completed. “From this moment, all of us will work together to win more Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka.”
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had won 19 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats from the state. The Congress, which was in opposition then, had won just six seats.
Ananth Kumar, who is also BJP general secretary and considered a bitter rival of Yeddyurappa, said “with my dear friend rejoining the party, our strength has gone up ten times”.
Yeddyurappa, largely credited with brining BJP to power for the first time in a southern state in May 2008 Karnataka assembly elections, was forced to quit as chief ministership in July 2011 over corruption charges.
He resigned from in December last year to head the KJP with the main aim of defeating BJP in the 2013 May assembly polls.
Yeddyurappa achieved that objective as BJP lost heavily winning only 40 seats in the 225-member assembly, though KJP fared worse and bagged just six seats.
Though he is fighting several corruption cases in Karnataka, many state BJP leaders were keen on taking him back to the party as they believe that will brighten the party’s prospects in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.