The central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party took a decisive step to end the factional feuds in its Karnataka unit which had pitted state president BS Yeddyurappa (pictured above) and senior leader KS Eshwarappa against each other. It divested four party functionaries – state vice presidents Bhanuprakash and Nirmal Kumar Surana, Raitha Morcha vice president MP Renukacharya and spokesperson G Madhusudhan – of their duties on Saturday night, PTI reported.

The party was put in an embarrassing position after Eshwarappa and his loyalists held a “save BJP” convention in Bengaluru on Thursday. They accused former chief minister Yeddyurappa of functioning in a “unilateral” manner, Hindustan Times reported. Yeddyurappa, in turn, had sought disciplinary action against Eshwarappa, prompting the BJP’s national general secretary, Muralidhar Rao, to conduct hectic meetings with party leaders here on Saturday and Sunday.

Besides relieving the four officials of their duties, the BJP has also barred members from participating in the activities of Rayanna Brigade, an apolitical forum of Dalits and backward classes floated by Eshwarappa. It also asked them not to talk about the party’s internal affairs in public.

After meetings with Rao, another BJP state general secretary Aravinda Limbavali on Sunday said the party’s central leadership was closely observing the recent happenings in the Karnataka unit. Clarifying that there was no link between the BJP and the Rayanna Brigade, he said in a statement that the BJP office-bearers, leaders and workers are strictly barred from participating in the Rayanna Brigade’s activities.

Meanwhile, BJP sources said Eshwarappa, who was scheduled to meet Rao on Sunday, has decided to skip the meeting. Speaking to the reporters in Tumkuru, Eshwarappa, the leader of the opposition in the legislative council, ruled out the possibility of the party taking any action against him. “What is there to seek report about me from Muralidhar Rao?” he said in reply to a question. “There is nothing, someone is creating such things. Everyone at the Centre knows about my contribution to the BJP organisation since the beginning.”

Karnataka was the first southern state to have a BJP government. It will go to the polls again in 2018.