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Yatnal’s outburst: venting anger or airing his ambition?

By Express News Service

BENGALURU:  Senior BJP leader and MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal had on Monday complained of not receiving sanctioned funds for development work in his constituency (Vijayapura), and took potshots at Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, while saying discussions were on within the party over change in leadership. However, party insiders say although not getting funds could be a reason, there is more to it than meets the eye.Yatnal, a Lingayat strongman from Vijayapura known for his hardline Hindutva views, is seen as a very ambitious leader who has felt slighted over not being given prominence in the state government. He is said to be positioning himself as a strong Lingayat leader from North Karnataka.

This is not the first time the former Union minister, who was part of the Vajpayee government, hit out at the CM. Earlier this year, too, he had openly expressed displeasure over not getting funds for development works, and had said that Yediyurappa was only the Chief Minister, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were his leaders. He had even criticised Union ministers from Karnataka.
Although Yatnal denied having ministerial aspirations, party insiders said not being part of the government is one of the reasons why he and some other senior leaders from the Lingayat community are miffed with Yediyurappa.

Yatnal, Umesh Katti and Murugesh Nirani, all Lingayat leaders from North Karnataka, are capable of winning elections on their own and felt they had to be in the ministry when the government was formed. They were upset when newcomers from Congress and JDS — and even those from BJP who had lost the 2018 elections — were given important positions at the cost of keeping out loyalists like themselves 
who had worked for the party in the 2018 elections. Only Katti has been assured of being being included in the ministry by the CM.

“Not being given prominence in the government despite being senior leaders and winning elections on their own is one of the major reasons for the heartburn among some seniors. But they have to understand the CM’s compulsions,” a party insider said, adding that like in 2008, the BJP had fallen short of winning majority on its own in the 2018 elections, and the CM had to accommodate those who helped government formation in the ministry.

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