With Vijayendra out, Varuna is all set for a low-profile contest

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Party fields relatively unknown T. Basavaraju as its candidate

After a day of high drama when the BJP central leadership denied State president B.S. Yeddyurappa’s son B.Y. Vijayendra ticket to contest from Varuna, the party’s flip-flop over the candidate for the constituency ended, but not exactly in the manner imagined by party workers.

Though they were hopeful that “wisdom” would prevail among the party top brass, sources in the BJP told The Hindu that there was no compromise on the issue and Mr. Yeddyurappa was told in no uncertain terms that Mr. Vijayendra would not be issued the ‘B’ form. Instead, the party fielded a relatively unknown T. Basavaraju as its candidate.

Mr. Vijayendra — who campaigned in the constituency for the last two to three weeks — was tipped to take on Yathindra, son of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in Varuna and this had stoked tremendous interest in the developments in the constituency.

Consequent to the ruckus created by party workers on Monday over the issue, senior BJP leaders, including Union Minister Prakash Javdekar, who is the BJP in charge for the Assembly elections in Karnataka, and BJP national general secretary P. Muralidhar Rao, visited Mysuru on Tuesday and held a meeting with Mr. Yeddyurappa to convey the party’s decision to him.

A miffed Mr. Yeddyurappa sought to take the blame on himself so as to deflect the criticism against the party leadership.

He later addressed party workers and said that Mr. Vijayendra would not contest from Varuna for “special reasons” but would campaign in the constituency for 20 days in support of the party candidate to “ensure his victory”. His appeal to the party workers to cooperate got drowned in slogans raised by the activists.

Official line

Mr. Javdekar said Mr. Yeddyurappa had taken the “historic decision” of not fielding his son Mr. Vijayendra and the “party was fully supportive of his decision”.

In view of the popularity of Mr. Vijayendra and his work, he was being vested with a new responsibility and appointed as the BJP Yuva Morcha general secretary, announced Mr. Javdekar. This, however, had no impact on the workers who expressed their ire over denying him the ‘B’ form.

Support from G.T. Deve Gowda

BJP activists received support from unexpected quarters when the Janata Dal (Secular) leader and candidate for Chamundeshwari constituency G.T. Deve Gowda appealed to the BJP to field B.Y. Vijayendra in Varuna.

“The objective is to defeat the Congress and it is the people’s wish,” he said.

Mr. Gowda had pitched for his son G.D. Harish Gowda to be named as the JD(S) candidate for Varuna, but it did not materialise and the party persisted with its official nominee Abhishek.

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