ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Arithmetic of Yeddyurappa's 'Secularism'

B S Yeddyurappa has declared his new Karnataka Janata Party's secular beliefs, but it would be reckless to support him just because he can wreck the Bharatiya Janata Party's chances of returning to power. Rhetoric aside, Yeddyurappa's and the KJP's ideological affi nity to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh remains and this cannot be wished away.

B S Yeddyurappa, former chief minister of Karnataka and the man behind the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) rise to power south of the Vindhyas, has formed his own Karnataka Janata Party (KJP). On 9 December, at a huge convention held in the north Karnataka town of Haveri, which is dominated by the Lingayat caste (to which Yeddyurappa belongs), he declared that his new party would follow the teachings of B R Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jayaprakash Narayan, and that secularism would be its backbone.

What has transformed Yeddyurappa from a staunch Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker into a votary of regional parties and secularism? What will be the impact of the KJP on the BJP, and the politics of Karnataka? More importantly, can the KJP’s political distance from the BJP be construed as a measure of its ideological distance from the RSS?

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