Advani yatra to skip Bangalore

Advani yatra to skip Bangalore

Tainted Karnataka leaders embarrass party

Advani yatra to skip Bangalore

Senior BJP leader LK Advani. PTIThe BJP decision is seemingly to avoid the embarrassment of holding an anti-graft rally when many of its top state leaders, including former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, are languishing in jail in Bangalore for their acts of omission and commission.

Party sources said Advani has expressed his helpl­essness in advocating a people’s movement for clean governa­nce in Bangalore when Yeddy­urappa and two former ministers, Krishnaiah Setty and Kat­ta Subramanya Naidu (in ho­spital for medical treatm­ent), are under judicial custody at the Central Jail at Parappana Agrahara, just a few km from the National College Grounds, the venue of the rally.

In New Delhi, putting up a brave front, the BJP on Saturday asserted that the arrest of Yeddyurappa was not a setback to Advani’s “yatra.” Party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy refrained from comm­enting on whether the BJP st­ood behind Yeddyurappa.

But he said it was not his party but the ruling Congress that was facing widespread public ire over corruption.

“Yeddyurappa’s arrest is not a setback to Advani’s ongoing ‘yatra’ against corruption,” Rudy said on the sidelines of a dis­cus­sion here organised by Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Re­search Foundation on India-China relations and border issues. However, Rudy steered clear of commenting on whether the BJP supported its former chief minister in Karnataka. “It is a legal matter. Let the legal proceedings take place,” he said.

 Advani has admitted that the recent developments in the ruling BJP in Karnataka, prim­arily Yeddyurappa’s arrest over land scams, have been an issue of acute embarrassment for the party. Opposition parties have been using the Yeddyura­ppa arrest to ridicule Advani’s “yatra.” They have said it is ir­onical that the BJP is organising a “yatra” against corruption wh­en the party’s own leaders are landing in jail on graft ch­a­r­ges.

Perhaps the major reason that resulted in Advani giving Bangalore a go-by is the Lokayukta police on Thursday filing an FIR against Home Minister R Ashoka for alleged denotification of land in violation of rules.

Ashoka, as minister in charge of Bangalore district, would have shared the dais with Advani at the rally in the state capital on October 30.

The BJP central leadership has been struggling to defend the spate of criminal proceedings against its leaders in Karnataka. Besides Yeddyurappa and two of his erstwhile cabinet colleagues in judicial custody in Bangalore, former minister Janardhana Reddy is in the Chenchalguda jail in Hyderabad for illegal mining.

A case against another sitting minister Murgesh Nirani has been filed in a special Lokayukta court for illegal denotification of land for personal gains.  Advani’s “yatra” now restricts to Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada. The “yatra” will enter Karnataka through Kasargod in Kerala on October 30 and cover Mangalore, Mulki, Hejmadi, Udupi, Kumdapura, Baindur, Bhatkal, Honnavar and Kumata the next day. Chief Minister D V Sa­dananada Gowda said in New Delhi that Ashoka and other issues had been an embarrassment for the party but not for the government.

The RSS,too, broke its silence on the Yeddyurappa issue. “The recent episode of Yeddyurappa is an embarrassment for the RSS. RSS senior functionaries had advised him as he is a ‘swayamsevak.’ If he has not taken our advice seriously, it is wrong to blame us,” said  organisation Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale.

No respite

* Lokayukta Court extends judicial custody of B S Yeddyurappa and Krishnaiah Setty till November 3
* Karnataka High Court to hear Yeddyurappa and Setty’s
interim bail plea on Monday
* Lokayukta Court has posted its orders on a private
complaint filed by Aslam Pasha against Murugesh Nirani on Monday
* Report on the Lokayukta investigation into the Upper Bhadra Project scam where Yeddyurappa is an accused on October 26
* Lokayukta police to submit a status report on the investigation into the first private complaint filed by Sirajin Basha against Yeddyurappa on October 29

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