Ahead of Advani's arrival, Karnataka BJP problems mount

Ahead of Advani's arrival, Karnataka BJP problems mount

A sort of blessing in disguise for Advani, however, is that the party’s first chief minister in the state and south India B.S. Yeddyurappa, arrested in two corruption cases, will remain behind bars till Oct 31.

This spares him of finding ways to avoid meeting Yeddyurappa who was sent to jail Oct 15 in two of the five corruption and illegal land deals cases against him.

Hearing of bail plea of the former chief minister, largely credited with bringing BJP to power in Karnataka for the first time in May 2008, will resume Oct 31 as arguments against it were incomplete Friday.

As the state unit Friday launched a road show in Bangalore to mobilize support for Advani’s Bangalore public meeting, came the shock of one of its legislator Y. Sampangi being jailed for threatening witnesses in a bribery case against him.

Sampangi, who represents Kolar Gold Fields, about 90 km from Bangalore, became the first assembly member to be caught taking bribe in the legislators’ home, residential quarters for the lawmakers, in 2009. He is alleged to have taken Rs.500,000 from a resident of his constituency to close a criminal case against him.

Sampangi was on bail. A trial court Friday cancelled it and sent him to jail after it was told that the legislator was threatening witnesses in the case.

He became the third BJP legislator to spend time in Bangalore’s central jail in the eastern suburb of Parappana Agrahara.

Yeddyurappa and former minister S.N. Krishnaiah Shetty, arrested with him, are the other two.

Another former BJP minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, though jailed, has been allowed to go to Mumbai for cancer treatment. However, his son Katta Jagadish, a BJP Bangalore corporator, has been counting days in the jail since Aug 8.

The third former BJP minister in jail is mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy. He is in Hyderabad’s Chanchalaguda jail in connection illegal mining cases in Andhra Pradesh.

Two ministers, R. Ashoka (home) and Murugesh Nirani (industries) are under police scanner on land grab charges and are resisting mounting pressure from the opposition to quit.

Advani and the state BJP will be hoping that both will not suffer further loss of face from the party affairs in the state at least till Nov 1.

Advani’s Jan Chetna Yatra, the anti-corruption road show, will pass through party strongholds of Karnataka’s coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada on Oct 31 and Nov 1. The yatra will leave Karnataka for neighbouring Goa in the afternoon of Nov 1.

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