BENGALURU: Veteran leader and former Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa on Saturday appealed to the dominant Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, to which he belongs, to continue their support to the ruling BJP in the upcoming Assembly polls, and ensure its victory in the State.
The 79-year-old Lingayat strongman was responding to a question whether the community will continue to support the BJP, even after his retirement from electoral politics.
Yediyurappa said there is no question of him sitting at home and he will tour across the State seeking votes for the party in the Assembly elections.
”I pray to the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community with folded hands, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have given me all kinds of opportunities so far. I’m voluntarily retiring (from electoral politics) as I will be 80-years of age on February 27,” Yediyurappa said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, ”So the Veerashaiva-Lingayat brothers without any misunderstanding, should continue to support me as in the past and make the BJP win. This is my request to them.” This statement has come amid attempts by opposition Congress and JD(S) to project that Yediyurappa is being sidelined by the BJP, and thereby garner the votes of the numerically and politically dominant community in their favour.
Veerashaiva-Lingayats are estimated to form about 17 per cent of the State’s population, and they form the BJP’s strong vote base.
Yediyurappa is still considered to be the ”tallest” Veerashaiva-Lingayat leader and continues to hold sway over the community.
The four-time CM and eight-time MLA from Shikaripura Assembly segment, Yediyurappa on Friday had delivered his farewell speech in the Karnataka Assembly, of which he was a member for decades.
The senior leader, who is now a member of the BJP’s top Parliamentary board, today said that he will continue to strive for building and strengthening the party by remaining outside the Assembly, and touring across the State.
”I have the satisfaction and contentment that I have done everything possible for the development of the State. As I have already said in the coming days I will travel across the State to bring BJP back to power, the tour programme will begin in about five to six days. There is no question of sitting at home, hundred per cent BJP will come to power in Karnataka,” he said.
Modi and Amit Shah’s leadership has given us ”elephant’s strength”, while other parties lack strong leadership, he said, ”so, good results are certain for the BJP.” Yediyurappa said Shivamogga airport will be inaugurated by Modi on February 27, and that his long-cherished dream was becoming a reality.
Source: Press Trust of India