Revenue minister Shobha Karandlaje's supporters threaten suicide


"Rural Development Minister Shobha KarandlajeWe will commit suicide if Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa drops Shoba madam from the ministry to save his chair. As panchayati raj and rural development minister, she has been doing good work," fans told reporters while holding a demonstration in front of her house here in her support.
Raising slogans against Reddy brothers - G. Janardhana Reddy and his elder brother G. Karunakara Reddy - and other dissident legislators for seeking her ouster, the supporters urged Karandlaje not to give in to pressure.

"We condemn the demand of rebel ministers and dissident legislators for Shoba's removal. What crime has she committed? As the only woman minister in the cabinet, she has been working hard and striving to build the party for over a decade," one of her supporters said.

BJP workers from the Yeshwantapur assembly constituency, which Karandlaje represents, staged the protest in front of the minister's official residence.

Shobha Karandlaje, the lone woman minister in the Yeddyurappa ministry, was, however, not present when the protest took place.

The rebels have alleged excessive interference in administration by Karandlaje, whose removal has been reportedly offered by the party central leadership as part of a compromise formula to end the crisis in the BJP's first government in south.

Yeddyurappa, while speaking to a TV Channel in Delhi, has said, "For my selfish ends, I had to ditch some people including Shobha or Baligar (his former principal secretary, who was transferred yesterday)", indicating that he would drop her.

The 44-year-old minister got elected for the first time as legislator from the Yeshwantpur assembly constituency in north Bangalore though she hails from Puttur in Dakshin Kannada in the coastal region.

"We will not allow her to resign at any cost. And if she does, we will commit suicide in front of her house by immolating ourselves," an agitated fan was heard screaming at the demonstration.
When rumours spread that Karandlaje had already faxed her resignation letter to Yeddyurappa earlier Saturday, hundreds of party workers and her supporters from the assembly constituency and Puttur rushed to meet her at her residence.

Removal of Karandlaje has been one of the main demands of the rebels, who allege she behaves like a second chief minister and interferes in the affairs of other ministries, especially revenue and tourism, which are held by Karunakara Reddy and Janaradhana Reddy respectively.

An ardent member of the Hindu right wing outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Karandlaje, however, denied the charges that she was meddling in the functioning of other ministries.
"I am ready to sacrifice my post if it saves the government. But no one has asked me. This 'shadyantar' (conspiracy) against me has been going on for long," Shoba said late Thursday.

She rose in party ranks after being active in RSS and the party's student wing Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishath (ABVP).
She was also general secretary of the party's state unit and was elected to legislative council for the first in 2004.
Of the 106 women who contested in the May 2008 assembly elections, only three got elected, including her. The other two - Seema Ashok Masuti from Dharwad and Mallika Prasad from Puttur - are also from the BJP.

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