Lull before storm in State BJP

Lull before storm in State BJP

Countdown begins: Lokayukta report to be submitted today

Lull before storm in State BJP

The leakage of the report might have nipped the suspense, but all eyes are now riveted on Santhosh Hegde’s recommendations which could potentially scuttle Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s continuation in office.

The report, running into thousands of pages, will be submitted by Lokayukta Registrar Kunhni Nayar Moole to Chief Secretary S V Ranganath at Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday. The media will get the copies of the report, possibly in CD format, only on Thursday or Friday.

The contents of the report have already generated a political storm with leaked portions indicting Yeddyurappa, four of his Cabinet colleagues, besides more than 600 officials for their role in illegal mining. The Lokayukta has also given details of the raids conducted by the Income Tax department on mining companies and its owners.The general perception in the BJP is that Yeddyurappa will have to vacate office before August 1, the day Parliament session begins, leading to a power struggle within the party.

The legislators, while keeping a close watch on the developments, are playing their cards close to their chests. A senior leader felt most of the legislators would desert Yeddyurappa if the party central leadership asks him to step down.

Unlike on Monday, Yeddyurappa’s office or residence was not thronged by many party legislators or workers.  Yeddyurappa, however, is unlikely to vacate his post without putting up a fight. He may reluctantly quit only on being given the opportunity to name his successor.

Possible successors

The names of BJP national General Secretary H N Ananth Kumar, State Party President K S Eshwarappa and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar are doing the rounds as Yeddyurappa’s possible replacement.

The followers of Yeddyurappa are still debating as to how they can underplay the Lokayukta  report on technical grounds.

They are also hoping that Yeddyurappa will get three months time to act on the report as per the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984 and hence he need not resign even in case he is indicted in the report.

The party is also hoping that Hegde will not recommend any action against Yeddyurappa under Section 12 of the Act. It is also being argued that as the government had sought a report on mining from the Lo­kayukta, there is no need for the chief minister to quit, but only take action as per the recommendations.

Justice Hegde has been silent on his recommendations on what could be done about the chief minister, ministers G Janardhana, G Karunakara Reddy, B Sriramulu and V Somanna and officials indicted in the scam.

The findings put the loss to state exchequer due to illegal mining between March 2009 and April 2010 at more than Rs 1,800 crore.

On his part, Yeddyurappa has said he would abide by the directions of the central leadership. But at the same time, he has announced that he would be presiding over a series of public meetings across the State from the first week of August.  Political observers feel this is a message to the party leadership that he would be going on a rebellion if asked to quit.