BJP opens war room for 2023 Karnataka polls amid ‘questions’ over future of state unit president Kateel
Even as questions loom over Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s continuance in office, there are speculations over the possible exit of BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel, sources said.
On Wednesday, the former Karnataka chief minister and BJP veteran BS Yediyurappa indicated that the state BJP president Kateel will demit office when his term ends – which is at the end of August.
Kateel and BJP office bearers, however, refuted reports of his likely exit at the end of August. “Who has said that my tenure has ended? Yediyurappa has said that it is natural for change to occur when the tenure of an office bearer comes to an end. My tenure has not ended,” Kateel said at the inauguration of a new BJP war room in Bengaluru, just months ahead of the 2023 Karnataka polls.
Notably, right-wing activists displayed public anger against the BJP state president in his home district of Dakshina Kannada in July, following the murder of a BJP youth worker. The activists shook Kateel’s car in a violent manner when he arrived to pay his tributes to the murdered BJP youth leader in Bellare village on July 27, a day after the murder.
The BJP state president has attempted to brush aside anger shown towards him as a mere outpouring of emotions by right-wing activists over the murder of a BJP worker during the tenure of a BJP government.
“It was just an outpouring of emotions,” Kateel said a few days ago about the July 27 incident.
“The BJP state president is not required to make big speeches and be seen in public a lot. His work happens quietly behind the scenes in building the party organization. This has been done by Kateel. He knows the organization right down to booth leaders and page pramukhs,” a BJP officer bearer said.
The office bearer suggested that the BJP state president, who is also the member of parliament from Dakshina Kannada, is best suited for an election year since his role would involve ensuring that strategies are implemented by the cadre down to the last worker.
Amid speculations of his possible exit, Kateel has also spent a lot of time discussing strategies for the party in Karnataka with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the aftermath of the Bellare murder, said party insiders. Kateel travelled with Shah on a flight on August 3 and also met him at his hotel the next day.
Talking about the new war room, Kateel said: “Today we have opened a war room in anticipation of the next polls, there will be a call centre as well. We are making full preparations for the next polls. We are preparing on a war footing for the elections. The war room has been opened to provide voters with information.”