Karnataka BJP in crisis again as upset Yeddyurappa praises Sonia Gandhi
Bangalore, May 13 (ANI): The Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plunged into a crisis once again on Sunday, with former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa publicly stating that he had the unconditional support of at least nine state cabinet ministers and a majority of BJP MLAs.
The crisis in the state BJP unit has been further aggravated with Yeddyurappa praising UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, suggesting that the ruling party could be headed for a possible split.
"I have to praise Sonia Gandhi. When she came to Tumkur for the Siddaganga function; I noticed that Congress party people are united and supportive. If any of their party members get into trouble, they help each other and resolve the issue," Yeddyurappa said at a public function in Bangalore.
He further hit out at the BJP saying "In the BJP, people will be waiting for a person to face some problem, and then put him down, and grab his position. In our party, our leaders will be happy only after some kind of punishment is handed out, and that is difference with Sonia Gandhi."
Media quoted sources say the former Karnataka chief minister and nine of his supporters have threatened to resign from state assembly.
They are apparently miffed over the lack of support shown to Yeddyurappa by the BJP after the Supreme Court, on Friday, ordered the CBI to probe him for nepotism, illegal land acquisition and favouring top mining companies.
Yeddyurappa and his supporters, according to sources, are also upset over Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda and state party president KS Eeshwarappa not being supportive of him. The former chief minister is also feeling sad that Gowda 'betrayed' his trust, NDTV quoted sources, as adding.
"I don't know he has not submitted any resignation, I cannot comment on such news so far. Certainly not," said Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda.
The Yeddyurappa camp is reportedly using the resignation threats for a change in guard in the state.
He wants Gowda to be removed and a Lingayat leader, like him, to be appointed as the chief minister instead.
Yeddyurappa, who met with his loyalists on Saturday, also threatened to walk out of the party.
He also shot off two letters to the chief minister with signatures of 38 MLAs seeking convening of an emergency legislature party meeting, but Gowda has rejected the call.n Saturday, Ministers Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, V Somanna, Umesh Katti, CM Udasi, MP Renukacharya and Shobba Karandlaje submitted their resignation letters to Yeddyurappa, authorising the former chief minister to take a call.
Other ministers like Raju Gowda and Animal Husbandry Minister Revunaik Belamagi may hand over their resignation letters by Monday.
Yeddurappa will then decide whether to "accept" the resignations.
In actuality, that would be a decision taken by the party, but it does make things tougher for Sadananda Gowda, the man who Yeddyurappa is desperate to replace.
The show of strength and support suggests Yeddyurappa does not intend to abandon attempts to be reinstated as chief minister, so far firmly rejected by the BJP's central leadership.
The Supreme Court had on Friday asked the CBI to file its report against Yeddyurappa by August 3, asking it to probe the allegations that the Prerna Trust managed by members of Mr Yeddyurappa's immediate family received a huge donation from the mining company favoured by him.
Yeddyurappa, while welcoming the Supreme Court order, had said, "Political conspiracy hatched against me has made me an accused in illegal mining though it is I who stopped it. I am facing the trouble after doing good work. I know how to come out of this political labyrinth."
Meanwhile, the BJP is downplaying the crisis saying the situation is under control.
The party's central leadership spoke to Yeddyurappa yesterday and asked him not to precipitate the crisis but the Lingayat strongman refused to budge and continued consultations on his future political moves with his confidante legislators.
Ever since the BJP government assumed office in Karnataka in May 2008, it has faced several revolts but managed to survive.
In 2009, former minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy had led a revolt and took away more than 45 MLAs to resorts in Hyderabad and Goa demanding Yeddyurappa's removal as Chief Minister. In 2010, 16 MLAs, including five independents, had withdrawn support to Yeddyurappa government but it survived in the wake of Speaker KG Bopaiah disqualifying them ahead of the two floor tests.
In July last year, Yeddyurappa reluctantly relinquished the post of Chief Minister after he was strongly indicted in an illegal mining report by the Karnataka Lokayukta.The Lingayat leader then handpicked Mr Gowda as his successor, envisaging him as a stop-gap arrangement till he made a bid for return as the chief minister after being cleared of the charges of corruption. But Mr Gowda will not go without a fight, and so far, the BJP has kept him in office.
Armed with the support of 70 of the 100 MLAs in the state, Yeddyurappa made a trip to New Delhi in March this year, hoping that would prove he should be back in power. But the party high command didn't oblige with reports of senior leaders like LK Advani wary of bringing back Yeddyurappa to office as it would deflate their campaign against the Congress of tolerating corruption within its ranks. (ANI)
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