New Delhi: Former Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna joined the BJP in the presence of party chief Amit Shah on Wednesday, ending months of speculation on his political plans.
He was expected to join the BJP more than a week ago because of bereavement in the family. "Even now he was busy with some personal issues, but state BJP chief B.S. Yeddyurappa requested him to give an early date, and also spoke to party president Amit Shah to expedite matters. Yeddyurappaji wants Mr. Krishna to campain for the BJP for Nanjangud (reserved) and Gundulpet Assembly seats that are due to the end of March," a source close to the development said.
Mr. Krishna described his joining the BJP as the next stop in his long career in public life. Indeed this is the third political party that he is joining. He first joined the Praja Socialist Party (PSP) on whose ticket he was elected MLA in 1962, before switching over to the Congress.
"When I was Chief Minister between 1999 and 2004, Atal Behari Vajpayeeji was Prime Minister and Ananth Kumarji is witness to the fact that Atalji always had a soft corner for me," he said. He added that he could see a "great new India emerging under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the able assistance of BJP president Amit Shah." He went on to say that as a former Foreign Minister he was aware of the "jealousy with which India is being watched by other countries as it emerges and re-emerges."
Mr Shah was too complimentary in his address, assuring Mr. Krishna's supporters inj the audience that his "varishta" (seniority) would be respectted in the BJP. Mr. Krishna has been known for his influential leadership in the Vokkaliga community, which along with 19% Lingayat votes is the second biggest dominant cast in Karnataka. Out of the 11 districts of Old Mysore are Vokkaligas are considered dominant in 89 Assembly seats, out of a total of 224 seats in the Karanataka Assembly.
"We are also counting his appeal of the urban voters in Bangaluru (with 28 seats in the Assembly), which prospected under his regime from 1999 to 2004," a source said.The BJP already has influence on the Lingayat community because of Mr. Yeddyurappa.