The BJP high command, in a significant move, appointed former Deputy Chief Minister and seasoned MLA R. Ashoka as the Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly. This announcement came following a legislative party meeting convened at a private venue, as per sources familiar with the matter.
During the meeting, the proposal to nominate Ashoka as the Leader of Opposition was put forth by former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, receiving resounding support from former minister and MLA V. Sunil Kumar. From the party's central leadership in Delhi, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the party's national General Secretary Dushyant Kumar Gautam were delegated as observers.
The presence of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and his son, B.Y. Vijayendra, newly appointed as the state BJP chief, underscored the significance of this strategic appointment.
Ashoka, a veteran with seven terms as an MLA, currently represents the Padmanabhanagar Assembly constituency in Bengaluru. His roots in the Vokkaliga community trace back to his early association with the RSS, where he began his political journey. Notably, he faced a month-long incarceration during the Emergency, standing alongside L.K. Advani at the Bengaluru Central Jail.
However, amidst these developments, BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal sparked controversy by advocating against the party's confinement to a particular family. Expressing his stance on the state's political dynamics, he emphasized the need for broader adjustments and cautioned against yielding to a select few. Yatnal maintained that his remarks didn't entail specific demands before the observers, emphasizing the importance of prudent decision-making by the central leadership.
Furthermore, Yatnal highlighted the significance of geographical representation by advocating for a leader from the north Karnataka region to assume the role of Leader of Opposition. His outspoken opinions and emphasis on regional representation added an additional layer of complexity to the discussions during this crucial meeting.
Karnataka LoP Recalls Confrontation with Indira Gandhi During Emergency at 17, Confident Against Siddaramaiah
The newly-appointed Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, R. Ashoka, exuded confidence on Friday, stating that facing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah wouldn't be daunting for him, drawing a parallel to his experience of standing against the late Indira Gandhi during the Emergency at the age of 17.
Addressing the media following his appointment as the BJP's Leader of Opposition, the seasoned seven-time MLA emphasized his extensive 45-year-long dedication to the party across various roles. "Siddaramaiah may have switched sides and not consistently triumphed under one party's banner, but I've clinched victory in seven elections on the BJP ticket," Ashoka asserted.
Expressing gratitude for the trust placed in him, Ashoka acknowledged the support and endorsement of key figures within the BJP, including legislators, PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President J.P. Nadda, and former CM B.S. Yediyurappa. "My lifelong commitment has been to combat the Congress," he affirmed.
The party high command has entrusted him with the pivotal task of steering the BJP back to power in Karnataka, alongside the ambitious goal of securing victory across all 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Addressing potential concerns about collaboration, Ashoka expressed readiness to collaborate seamlessly with state BJP chief B.Y. Vijayendra, stressing that he had never opposed Vijayendra's father, B.S. Yediyurappa.
Ashoka, representing the Padmanabhanagar Assembly constituency in Bengaluru, comes from the Vokkaliga community and has been associated with the RSS since his youth. His history includes a month-long imprisonment during the Emergency, sharing that period of confinement with veteran leader L.K. Advani at the Bengaluru Central Jail.
(With Agency Inputs)