Pulling off a win in Maski bypoll crucial for Vijayendra

His supporters are then likely to pitch for a higher organisational responsibility for him

Amid speculation about political future of Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who has turned 78, his camp is eagerly looking at the results of the forthcoming byelections to a Lok Sabha constituency and two Assembly constituencies, particularly the Maski Assembly segment.

Focus on Maski is because the Chief Minister’s son and BJP State vice-president B.Y. Vijayendra has taken up the responsibility of managing the party’s poll preparations, including campaign, in the constituency, where the party is yet to register a victory so far.

If the party manages to win the byelection in Maski, then it is going to be a “hat-trick” of sorts for Mr. Vijayendra in terms of the Assembly constituencies where the party has managed to register its maiden victory under his supervision. The BJP had earlier won K.R. Pet and Sira constituencies in south Karnataka for the first time where the party’s poll campaign had been supervised by Mr. Vijayendra.

If Maski goes in favour of the BJP, supporters of Mr. Yediyurappa are bound to pitch for a higher responsibility for Mr. Vijayendra within the party, said a strategist close to him. The earlier two victories, attributed to campaign under the leadership of Mr. Vijayendra, had underscored his potential and another win would make even his detractors accept that he is a poll strategist, he added. Mr. Vijayendra has been campaigning at Maski since April 2.

This projection of Mr. Vijayendra as a “poll strategist” has caught the attention of both the Opposition as well as BJP old-timers.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah has questioned the sobriquet of “poll strategist” being attributed to Mr. Vijayendra. “If he is really a Chanakya, why could he not cast his spell and ensure the victory of their candidates when his father had formed the KJP?” the Congress leader asked during the poll campaign in Maski.

Some BJP old guard have been pointing out that the earlier two victories under Mr. Vijayendra’s leadership were in bypolls where the government’s influence is bound to work and not in general elections. They also insist that other political reasons worked in favour of the BJP in those earlier bypolls.

However, the supporters of Mr. Vijayendra counter such an argument by pointing out that the BJP managed to pull off victories in K.R. Pet and Sira despite the party not having any strong organisational network there.


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