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Posted on Nov 30, 10:02PM | IANS
The BJP suffered a blow Friday when former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Friday joined the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) within an hour after resigning from the BJP and the assembly.
"It is the saddest day of my life as I have been compelled to leave the BJP with which I was associated for about 40 years and brought it to power in the state in 2008," an emotional Yeddyurappa told a news conference.
Yeddyurappa faxed his resignation to BJP president Nitin Gadkari and submitted his resignation from the Karnataka assembly to speaker K.G. Bopaiah. He represented the Shikaripura assembly seat.
Blaming the BJP leadership and some state leaders for his exit, Yeddyurappa said he was overwhelmed by the support from hundreds of BJP cadres and members of opposition parties.
He will formally take over as president of the KJP Dec 9 at Haveri, about 400 km from Bangalore.
"About 300 members have joined the KJP from the BJP, Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and hundreds will do so in the coming weeks," he asserted.
The KJP was founded by Padmanabha Prasanna Kumar, a social activist, in April 2011 but has not contested any election till date. Barring a couple of districts like Davangere, it hardly has any presence in the state.
Former central minister K. Dhananjay Kumar, who was expelled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Oct 16, was made interim president of KJP in place of Kumar at the behest of Yeddyurappa.
"I do what I say. Though the BJP leadership and its state leaders tried their best to retain me, I have done what I said by quitting today. I have quit the BJP with a heavy heart as I was betrayed by its high command, which conspired with some of the party's state leaders to oust me from the chief minister's post last year."
Yeddyurappa resigned July 31, 2011 after he was indicted by former Lokayukta (ombudsman) Justice N. Santosh Hegde in the multi-crore mining scam during his over three-year tenure.
Holding Gadkari and party general secretary Ananth Kumar responsible for his decision to quit, Yeddyurappa said he found it difficult to stay in the BJP as he felt let down after he was assured of being made president of the state unit after his name was cleared of graft charges.
"Though I have quit the BJP, I got the support of about 70 of its legislators including ministers and MPs. I have advised them not to resign as I want the BJP government to last its full term till May 2013."
Yeddyurappa said he would tour the state after Dec 9 to explain how he was denied the right to complete his five-year term.
"It is time to make a new beginning with a new party," he added.
"The KJP will contest all the 224 constituencies in the elections due in April/May next year to secure an absolute majority to form the next government."
Noting that the regional parties have come of age, the former chief minister said it were parties like the KJP that would be able to safeguard the interests of the state.
"National parties like the Congress and BJP have failed to govern in states. That is way parties like AIADMK, BJD, Trinamool Congress and Akali Dal have came to power.
"I am sure the KJP will be another regional party that will emerge strong in Karnataka and capture power," Yeddyurappa said.