Advani asks Karnataka BJP unit to ensure govt lasts full term

Senior BJP leader L K Advani has asked the Karnataka party unit to make all efforts to save its first government in the South in case the party has to act against Tourism Minister G Janardhan Reddy and Revenue Minister G Karunakar Reddy in the wake of stepped up opposition to their continuance in government.

Sources said Advani was conscious of the party's image and is of the view that the government should last its full term because Karnataka is considered the gateway to the South for the party. This much, the sources said, he had indicated to the Chief Minister when he called on him today. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who is close to the Reddy brothers, is being counted upon by the party to discuss the issue with the controversial ministers.

She may even indicate to them that it would be better for them to resign on their own and await the report of the Lokayukta on the issue of illegal mining. They may come back to the ministry if they come out unscathed on the issue, sources said. But there was no official word from the party on any such move yet.

It was also pointed out to Advani by one of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa's men that there are three ministers- the two Reddy brothers and their close associate B Sreeramalu- are from the same district while other parts of Karnataka have not been adequately represented in the cabinet.

Advani reportedly said this was a political issue and it was for the state unit to take a call on it. However, this can be viewed as an excuse by the Yeddyurappa government and the BJP to explain the exit of the Reddy brothers from the cabinet in case things come to such a pass.

According to sources, the Lokayukta report indicts the Reddy brothers of facilitating illegal export of 8 Lakh tonnes of iron ore. They are also accused of getting any official who was appointed to investigate such charges transferred.

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