The BJP’s Karnataka unit chief B S Yeddyurappa today met former Chief Minister S M Krishna here and invited him to join the party. Yeddyurappa was joined by former Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka during his meeting with Krishna at his residence in the evening. “Today Ashok and I met him (Krishna) to invite him to join BJP.. I’m hopeful that he will join the party at the earliest,” Yeddyurappa told reporters after the meeting.
Considered a charismatic leader with pockets of influence in the Vokkaliga belt in the old Mysuru region, Krishna had dashed off a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi conveying his decision to resign from the primary membership. Taking potshots at the Congress leadership a day after his exit from the party, he had said Krishna on January 29 that the party does not need “mass leaders” but only wanted “managers” as he complained of being sidelined due to his age.
“With pain and anguish, I have decided to quit Congress,” he had stated, adding that “self-respect” was important for him, but declined to spell out the next step and said he would have to think about it. Seeking to cash in on the development that stunned the Congress, the BJP had made attempts to reach out to Krishna, stating that the party will benefit if the octogenarian decides to join it.
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Calling Krishna a tall leader, Ashoka said him joining the BJP will benefit the party, especially in old Mysuru region and Bengaluru in particular. “He quit Congress as he was saddened by the party’s present state of affairs, especially of the Siddaramaiah government,” he alleged. “He has good opinion about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the note ban and the surgical strikes. I’m hopeful that he will join the party,” Ashoka said.
Responding to a query as to how Krishna will benefit by joining the BJP, Ashoka said it is for the prime minister and the party chief Amit Shah to decide.
Krishna, who was the Karnataka chief minister from 1999 to 2004, had returned to the state politics after stepping down as the minister for external affairs in 2012. He had also served as the Governor of Maharashtra.