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HomekarnatakaVijayendra emerges from father’s shadow, assumes party mantle

Vijayendra emerges from father’s shadow, assumes party mantle

Bengaluru: BJP veteran B S Yediyurappa was 45 when he was first appointed as the party’s Karnataka president in 1988.

On Friday, his son Vijayendra was appointed to the same post, aged 47.

That even Union Home Minister Amit Shah saw Vijayendra as Yediyurappa’s political heir became evident in March this year.

“Yediyurappa ji, iss ko dedo aap,” Shah said, pointing to a bouquet of flowers that Yediyurappa held. Shah chose to receive it from Vijayendra.

“I’m proud to be Yediyurappa’s son. But I don’t think that was the sole reason for my appointment,” Vijayendra said. “I’ve been given a good opportunity.” Vijayendra’s older brother BY Raghavendra is the Shimoga MP.

Born November 5, 1975, Vijayendra holds a law degree from Sri Jagadguru Renukacharya College of Law.

Vijayendra’s first active position in politics came in 1996 when he was appointed as secretary of the BJP Yuva Morcha. In 1999, he became vice-president of the party’s Bengaluru unit.

Much of Vijayendra’s attention was towardsSwami Vivekananda Vidya Samsthe, which runs educational institutions in Shivamogga.

It was when Yediyurappa was appointed as BJP state president for the third time in 2016 that Vijayendra reached a point of no return in politics. He started working on building the BJP in the Old Mysuru region, which he once toldDHwas “a tough nut to crack.” In 2018, Vijayendra was made Yuva Morcha general secretary.

In August 2020, Vijayendra became the BJP vice-president, a reward for helping the party win in the Vokkaliga-dominated KR Pet during the December 2019 bypoll. He followed it up with engineering a victory in the 2020 Sira bypoll.

When Yediyurappa became chief minister, Vijayendra earned haters within the BJP. He was even dubbed as the “super CM”.

A senior BJP leader said Vijayendra’s appointment is to see that the applecart is not upset with the Congress planning a move on the caste census. “While Yediyurappa will work to protect his son’s throne, the JD(S) under H D Kumaraswamy will try to bring in the Vokkaliga votes,” the leader explained.

Vijayendra has outraced other BJP leaders who were eyeing the state president’s post. Senior leader V Somanna, for example, wanted the party to consider him. The names of Shobha Karandlaje, C T Ravi, Arvind Bellad, C N Ashwath Narayan among others were doing the rounds.

“It’s my responsibility to take everyone into confidence,” Vijayendra said. “Even those inclined towards leaving the party…we’ll take everyone into confidence,” he said.

(Published 11 November 2023, 02:14 IST)

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