Ex-IAS officer K. Shivaram to join BJP on Friday
K. Shivaram, a 1986 batch officer who has also acted in 10 Kannada films, joined the Congress in 2013 after his retirement the same year
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Bengaluru: K. Shivaram, a retired Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer and leader from the Chalavadi community will join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday in Bengaluru, a move that may heighten discord in the party’s state leadership.
Analysts and political leaders say the induction of Shivaram, a move initiated by the party’s state president B.S. Yeddyurappa, will be used as a “front” in a cold war between him and the BJP’s leader of the opposition in the state council K.S. Eshwarappa.
Member of Parliament from Shimoga and a former chief minister, Yeddyurappa has been trying to woo the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes (SC/ST) and other backward classes (OBC) ahead of assembly elections in 2018.
The latest round of infighting in the party began when Eshwarappa started organizing political rallies under the banner of Sangolli Rayanna Brigade, named after a freedom fighter from the Kuruba community which Eshwarappa will use to mobilize OBC votes.
Yeddyurappa, who has been named the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate by its national president Amit Shah, did not take lightly the possibility of another mass leader emerging within the party.
Calls to Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa seeking comment went unanswered.
“My entry into the BJP has nothing to do with any of this,” Shivaram told Mint on Wednesday while terming the alleged rift between the two leader as “false news”.
Shivaram, a 1986 batch officer who has also acted in 10 Kannada films joined the Congress in 2013 after his retirement the same year. Within six months, he had moved to the Janata Dal (Secular) where he unsuccessfully contested as a party candidate in the 2014 general election.
“The BJP is portraying itself as an anti-Congress SC party and will look to push up leaders from different groups,” said Narendra Pani, professor at the School of Social Sciences of the National Institute of Advanced Studies. He added that such “controlled infighting” is used as a way to attract groups rival groups.
Yeddyurappa, on his part, had announced multiple schemes aimed at the SC/ST community including increasing the total outlay for SC/ST welfare, establishment of labour welfare boards for unorganized labourers of Madivala, Savitha, Kumbara, Kammara and tailors and increasing pooled funds corpus of the Special Component Plan and the Tribal Sub Plan (for SC/ST) among other schemes during his tenure as CM from 2008-11.
More recently, Yeddyurappa had backed additional chief secretary K. Ratna Prabha for the post of chief secretary as she was a Dalit.
BJP party workers maintain SC/ST voters want an alternative to the Congress and that Yeddyurappa has done more for the backward classes than any other party, a claim refuted by the JD (S).
Using the expression “a rolling stone gather no moss,” to illustrate Shivaram’s party hopping nature, Y.S.V. Datta, legislator from Kadur (Karnataka) and senior JD (S) leader said that members of the SC/ST community will not follow him into the BJP.
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