Gadkari snubs Sushma

Gadkari snubs Sushma

Gadkari came out with a statement this evening after former party president Rajnath Singh and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa claimed responsibility for inducting the controversial Reddy brothers, mining magnates, into the state cabinet, from which Swaraj had distanced herself.

Swaraj, widely perceived to be close to the Reddy brothers, had in an interview yesterday said it was Jaitley, Yeddyurappa, M Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar who had decided to induct Janardhan and Karunakar Reddy into the cabinet.

The remarks, which brought to fore the differences in second generation leadership in the party, forced Rajnath Singh and Yeddyurappa to claim responsibility for the induction of the Reddy brothers.

While Swaraj and Jaitley kept mum on the issue, Gadkari came out with a sharp statement which said there is "absolutely no question of any individual or individuals influencing this process in any particular manner".

"Any debate about the choice of ministers in the Karnataka government at this stage in the media is totally unnecessary," Gadkari said.

This is the second time that Gadkari appeared to openly snub Swaraj for her public statements. In the earlier instance, Gadkari had differed with her when she said she was satisfied with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on the controversy surrounding appointment of P J Thomas as CVC and the matter should be closed.

In today's statement, Gadkari said BJP is a democratic party and always follows the democratic procedure of government-formation in states when it is returned to power.

"The party leader is elected by the BJP legislature party in the presence of a team of central observers. The Chief Minister, in exercise of his constitutional prerogative, forms his cabinet in consultation with the party's central and state leadership," Gadkari said. He maintained this practice was followed in Karnataka as well.

"It is the considered position of BJP that all our cabinet ministers in Karnataka government are the unanimous choice of the party, both central as well as the state, and are equally capable and committed to providing good governance to the people of Karnataka," Gadkari said.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh had denied there was any rift between Swaraj and Jaitley.

"Reports of a rift between Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are baseless. This is true that Arun was in-charge of Karnataka. I had sent him there as I was president (of BJP) during cabinet formation," Singh said.

However, he said he took responsibility for all that happened in Karnataka and nobody could be blamed for that. The selection of ministers is also the Chief Minister's prerogative, he said.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said Swaraj had herself stated in the same interview that she and Jaitley were in agreement on 95 to 99 per cent issues.