The much-expected merger announcement by Yeddyurappa came on Thursday after a delegation of Karnataka BJP leaders met and formally invited him back to the party fold, thus setting the stage for the two parties to come together.
    
"We have decided to merge KJP with BJP," said Yeddyurappa, flanked by BJP National General Secretary Ananth Kumar, who was perceived to be his bitter rival, and his other senior colleagues including state unit President Prahlad Joshi.
    
Sources in BJP's central leadership said his return to the party fold is unconditional and he will not contest the coming Lok Sabha elections.
    
The BJP extended formal invitation to Yeddyurappa soon after it held the party's core committee meeting and proceeded to his house to welcome him back to the party, which he had deserted over a year ago and formed KJP.
    
Losing no time in accepting the invitation, Yeddyurappa announced the merger decision, saying, "All formalities will be completed within three or four days. From this minute, we both are going to work for winning more than 20 (of the 28) Lok Sabha seats in the state."


    
Ananth Kumar said the BJP’s strength would increase ‘10 fold’ with Yeddyurappa’s decision, and added that the ‘good news’ had been conveyed to party chief Rajnath Singh.

The two parties had put the merger efforts on top gear in recent weeks, having learnt a bitter electoral lesson in the May 8 Assembly polls, in which KJP had played a spoiler to BJP, causing the collapse of its first ever government in the South.
    
KJP had garnered six seats and 10 percent vote share in the Assembly polls but had failed make a big impact as an independent force, creating an uncertain future for the party.
    
"From this moment, we will forget the past..." said Yeddyurappa, who had snapped his more than four decades old association with BJP in December 2012 nursing bitterness against central leadership for removing him as chief minister.
    
Indicted by Lokayukta on illegal mining issue, a reluctant Yeddyurappa was asked to vacate his chair in July 2011, after which Sadananda Gowda succeeded him but made way to Jagadish Shettar, both of whom were made to spend sleepless nights by the Lingayat strongman before floating KJP.
    
Yeddyurappa had written to NDA chairman L K Advani conveying KJP's willingness to be part of the BJP-led combine but had received no response from the BJP veteran, who was reported to be not so enthusiastic about him.


    
"All people are expecting Narendra Modi to be Prime Minister, for that we are going to work day and night from today onwards," Yeddyurappa said.
    
Ananth Kumar said Yeddyurappa has taken a ‘good decision’ and it was a ‘historic day’ in state politics, as he praised the latter for being one of the builders of BJP.
    
He said the ‘sole purpose’ of the merger was to make India ‘free of Congress’ as also the state and win 272 plus Lok Sabha seats.

(Agencies)

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