BJP invites Yeddyurappa back into party

Bangalore: Capping weeks of intensified efforts, decks were on Thursday cleared for the merger of B S Yeddyurappa-led Karnataka Janata Paksha with BJP, as both parties jointly announced their union declaring that they would complete all the formalities within three or four days.

The much-expected merger announcement by Yeddyurappa came after a delegation of Karnataka BJP leaders met and formally invited him back to the party fold, thus setting the stage for the two parties to come together.

“We have decided to merge KJP with BJP,” said Yeddyurappa, flanked by BJP national General Secretary Ananth Kumar, who was perceived to be his bitter rival, and his other senior colleagues including state unit President Prahlad Joshi.

Sources in BJP’s central leadership said his return to the party fold is unconditional and he will not contest the coming Lok Sabha elections.

BJP extended the formal invitation to Yeddyurappa soon after it held the party’s core committee meeting and proceeded to his house to welcome him back to the party, which he had deserted over a year ago and formed KJP.

Losing no time in accepting the invitation, Yeddyurappa announced the merger decision, saying, “All formalities will be completed within three or four days. From this minute, we both are going to work for winning more than 20 (of the 28) Lok Sabha seats in the state.”

Ananth Kumar said with Yeddyurappa’s decision, BJP’s strength would increase “10 fold” and added that “good news” had been conveyed to party President Rajnath Singh who gave his “good wishes”.

The merger moves had gathered steam in recent weeks, with Yeddyurappa giving clear indications that it was only a matter of time before his return to BJP whose state leaders also got the green signal from the party top brass.

After the core committee meeting, Joshi said, “There is absolute consensus (about the entry of Yeddyurappa). There is no problem. Unanimously the state unit has decided that we have to fight (Lok Sabha) election together.”