Bengaluru, Aug 27: As three-time Lok Sabha member Nalin Kumar Kateel took charge as the new Karnataka BJP president, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday asked party workers to strengthen the outfit, even as he set the target of over 150 seats in the next assembly polls.
Kateel vowed to strengthen the organisation under the guidance of the other leaders and said, he was accepting the responsibility on behalf of ‘karyakartas’.
Addressing party workers, Yediyurappa said for the first time BJP was in power both at the Centre and the State and there were 25 party MPs representing Karnataka inLok Sabha.
The workers should further strengthen the party under Kateel’s leadership and bring it back to power with huge majority next time, he said.
“It has been one month as chief minister for me, without taking rest even for a single day I have travelled across the state and have focused on issues concerning the people. I have got a good cabinet (and) with their cooperation we will work efficiently,” Yediyurappa said.
“For remaining three years and ten months, without taking rest we will have to strengthen the party in every assembly constituency, in the next assembly election we will have to win more than 150 seats,” he said.
BJP under Yediyurappa had won 104 of total 224 seats during the 2018 assembly polls, and the party subsequently won Chincholi seat during the by-polls taking the tally to 105.
Kateel (53), who is serving his third consecutive term in the Lok Sabha, represents Dakshina Kannada and is known for his hardline Hindutva views.
With Yediyurappa becoming the chief minister last month, the Amit Shah-led party has brought in his replacement in line with its “one person one post” norm.
Addressing party workers after assuming charge, Kateel said, “I have been given a very huge responsibility today; a normal karyakarta who used to seek votes going in front of houses in villages can become the state president of the party, it is possible only in Bharatiya Janata Party.
I’m Proof for that.”
Stating that BJP was currently in its “golden age” because of the hard work of several leaders and karyakartas, he said, “at this juncture with utmost caution I’m taking this responsibility. I also have a fear, but amid that fear I also have a confidence that I have leaders like Yediyurappa and others to guide me to take BJP to everyone.”
Kateel has an RSS background and the BJP decision to appoint him as its Karnataka unit chief is in line with its appointments of leaders with strong ideological moorings as heads of its different state units.
Crediting RSS’s ‘Shakas’ for his growth as the leader, Kateel said,”I’m a Swayamsevak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, I’m not a scholar or achiever, but I grew up in Shakas of Sangh and Karyakartas of Sangh nurtured me.”
Both Yediyurappa and Kateel asked party workers and leaders to address the needs of people in flood-hit regions.
Highlighting the miseries of people in flood affected areas and efforts made by the government in providing relief to them, the Chief Minister expressed hope about receiving adequate assistance from the centre.
He also asked party MLAs, MPs and workers to work towards ensuring that those affected get the relief.