Relief for Yeddyurappa exposes BJP weakness

Relief for Yeddyurappa exposes BJP weakness

The chief minister did not show any emotion as he ended his eventful stay in Delhi but what was evident was that the BJP top leadership could be made to bend. Only 24 hours ago, the party top brass was asking him to resign. On Wednesday, however, the party  got exposed as it allowed the beleaguered Yeddyurappa to continue as chief minister.

A defiant chief minister succeeding in having his way in the face of adversity that has not happened in the immediate past. The last example was that of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of murderous attacks and riots in the western state that killed thousands of Muslims in 2002. In another incident, the then Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly, Vasundhara Raje, resigned in February 2010 but not after defying the diktat of the high command for over five months.

A divided high command as well as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh came to Yeddyurappa’s aid. BJP president Nitin Gadkari and party seniors Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh supported the embattled chief minister.

The Opposition Leader in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, “god mother” to the Bellary Reddy brothers, was said to be opposed to the chief minister. So was general secretary Ananth Kumar. Party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi even refused to give audience to the Karnataka leader. Arun Jaitely remained neutral. Despite all these, the 67-year old Lingayat leader survived.

That the party leadership was prepared to get its image sullied especially when it was presumably leading a battle against corrupt leaders in the United Progressive Alliance shows the extent to which it was pushed to bail out Yeddyurappa.

Playing his cards well when odds were staked against him, the chief minister got the MLAs and MPs as well as the Lingayat community leaders to rally behind him. He threatened that South India’s first BJP government will not survive it he is ousted. Aware that Yeddyurappa once almost jumped to the Janata Dal  (Secular) some years ago and that the party government does not have a comfortable majority, the party leaders blinked.

He also told them that he has been a performer—the party did pretty well in the successive byelections and tax collection last fiscal exceeded 30 per cent.

As a senior leader in the high command told Deccan Herald: “Saving Yeddyurappa’s chair was purely a political decision. It had nothing to do with the merit of the (corruption and nepotism) cases.”

Arun Jaitely, incidentally, saw some documents relating to charges against the chief minister. He told the high command that,  prima facie, the allegations have put the chief minister  in a spot.

Having imposed certain conditions on Yeddurappa for his rebirth as chief minister, the leadership also told him that it would send a team of party leaders to Bangalore shortly to look into the charges against him. The party brass was happy that he has already instituted a judicial inquiry into his and his predecessors’ misdeeds.

Having survived this round, Yeddyurappa will certainly be under watch. Any misdemeanor, especially of corruption, may see the end of the controversial innings of the veteran leader who played a significant role in bringing the BJP to power in the state.

Gadkarispeak

“An environment of uncertainty has been created in Karnataka during the past few days due to several allegations being made against Chief Minister Yeddyurappa . Yeddyurappa has denied these allegations and has offered his response both publicly and to the party leaders.

The Chief Minister has also written to me giving his view point. After my consultations with senior party colleagues and the state leaders, the party has decided to continue Yeddyurappa as the Chief Minister. With the Panchayat and Zilla Parishad elections round the corner, the party appeals to all its leaders to work for the success of the party.

The State Government has already constituted a Commission of Inquiry to look into all allegations of land allotment. The Chief Minister has proposed that to satisfy itself the party should look into any allegation directed against him. I shall with adequate assistance look into the same."

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