Wednesday, 30 November, 2022
HomePoliticsBJP names RSS-backed Sanskrit magazine publisher for Karnataka RS seat in snub...

BJP names RSS-backed Sanskrit magazine publisher for Karnataka RS seat in snub to Yediyurappa

K. Narayan, who also owns a printing press, was not among the names suggested by the Karnataka BJP unit.

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Bengaluru: The BJP central leadership’s decision to name a political greenhorn, K. Narayan, as the party’s candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat in Karnataka has not only caught state party leaders by surprise but also appears to be a message to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa that his powers are limited to running his government.

A bypoll for the seat will be held on 1 December after it fell vacant with the demise of Ashok Gasti due to Covid-19 in September, two months after he was nominated.

A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) loyalist, Narayan is the publisher of a Sanskrit magazine, Sambhashana Sandesha, and owns a printing press called Span Print. Sources in the BJP, however, said that Yediyurappa was not consulted when the list of names of probable candidates were sent by the state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel to the BJP high command.

A BJP functionary told ThePrint that Narayan wasn’t among the three names suggested by the state unit. The three included Nirmal Surana, the Karnataka BJP vice-president; Suma Gasti, the wife of deceased MP Ashok Gasti and N. Shankarappa, a senior backward class leader from Ballari.

“K. Narayan’s name was suggested by the RSS joint general secretaries C.R. Mukund and Dattatreya Hosabale. The Karnataka BJP was given the task of suggesting a worthy leader who has been a RSS loyalist and Narayan’s name came into circulation,” the functionary said. “It is a fact, however, that Yediyurappa was not consulted with the final list and the CM did not want to bother as well as he has been busy trying to expand his cabinet and address other development issues.”

Apart from being associated with the RSS for the last three decades, Narayan does not have much experience in politics. His nomination is a recognition for his efforts to popularise Sanskrit as a language, say his close associates.

A native of Mangalore, Narayan belongs to the Devanga (weaver) community, a backward class that does not have proper representation in the BJP government in Karnataka.

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Not the first time

This is not the first time that the BJP central leadership has surprised the Karnataka cadre with its choice of candidates.

In the June Rajya Sabha elections, the central command picked two loyalists, Eranna Kadadi, a Belgavi-based leader of the dominant Lingayat community and Ashok Gasti, a backward class leader from the Raichur region, for the then two seats.

Both Kadadi and Gasti were handpicked by senior leaders in the party and their candidature was supported by the BJP national Secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh.

Now, Narayan is also the choice of the BJP high command and party insiders confirm that Yediyurappa had no real say in the selection.

“This has been embarrassing for him and could be seen as a snub,” said a second BJP functionary. “Senior party leaders had defended the earlier decision saying they chose Kadadi and Gasti in order to give long-time loyalists an opportunity. But by choosing Narayan, Gasti and Kadadi may now seem like a message from Delhi that Yediyurappa’s powers are limited to only running his government and other major decisions will be taken by the party high command.”

A good choice, say RSS leaders

Though his name comes as a surprise, (RSS) leaders ThePrint spoke to say there could not have been a better choice than him.

“He has been a dedicated karyakarta, one that has been instrumental in printing and publishing Sanskrit works through his magazine,” said the RSS’s national organising secretary Dinesh Kamath. “He energised the movement as the vice-president of the Hindu Seva Foundation and has been silently bringing about change in society. It is necessary that people like him should be given a political platform to work and transform society.”

Another senior BJP functionary said that Narayan’s nomination is part of the party’s strategy to empower grassroots workers.

“The party has been trying to give ground-level workers who have spent several decades to help strengthen the BJP, a chance,” he said. “It (Narayan’s nomination) is in line with the party’s practice of picking low-profile hard-working candidates and giving them a chance to serve at the Centre.”

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  1. A snub for Yeddurappa would have been the nomination of sampath raj for the RS post.

    A RSS person nominated for RS is a snub to journalist and anti HINDU illiberals who were spreading fake news that RIOTERS were actually protecting temples.

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