Jaitley was very hurt when BSY formed KJP: Kore

Jaitley was very hurt when BSY formed KJP: Kore

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa hands over a bouquet to former union minister Arun Jaitley at a programme in Bengaluru. BJP leaders Ananth Kumar and D V Sadananda Gowda look on. dh file photo

Arun Jaitley came to be known as B S Yediyurappa’s godfather and proved to be his Man Friday on occasions when he faced political crisis during his first stint as chief minister of Karnataka’s first majority BJP government. 

In fact, the BJP put Jaitley in charge of Karnataka when the BJP won Karnataka in 2008, with which the party tasted its first success in the south. The former union finance minister was also in charge of Karnataka for the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, in which the saffron party won 18 out of the 28 seats. Therefore, Jaitley was familiar with the political landscape of Karnataka from the BJP’s point of view. 

RIP Arun Jaitley | Ex-Finance Minister's mortal remains to be taken to BJP HQ at 10am tomorrow

In 2009, the Reddy brothers raised a banner of revolt, seeking Yediyurappa’s ouster as CM. Even in the face of the crisis, Jaitley hailed the Yediyurappa government for performing well and ruled out the likelihood of any change in leadership. The BJP top brass managed to arrive at a compromise formula and Yediyurappa continued as CM. 

While Jaitley is said to have stood by Yediyurappa during this period, another senior BJP leader at the time, Sushma Swaraj who died earlier this month, supported the dissident Reddy brothers. 

In 2011, Jaitley again came to Yediyurappa’s rescue when 11 BJP MLAs rebelled. The MLAs, who had pulled the plug, pledged their support to the Yediyurappa government later on and Jaitley had a role to play in it. 

“One of the meetings Jaitley held to diffuse the crisis was in my Delhi house,” BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Prabhakar Kore told DH. “Jaitley was the godfather not only to Yediyurappa, but also to me,” he said. It was because of Jaitley, Kore said, he joined the BJP and entered Rajya Sabha. 

In 2012, Jaitley was tasked with convincing Yediyurappa to stay in the BJP. The Lingayat leader had been forced to step down as CM in August 2011 after a Lokayukta report indicted him in the illegal mining case. After the FIR was quashed in March 2012, Yediyurappa wanted to be reinstated as CM. 

When that did not happen, he decided to break away from the saffron party and form his own outfit. During this period, Yediyurappa refused to meet Jaitley twice, saying time for talks was over. 

“When Yediyurappa formed the Karnataka Janata Party,” Kore recalled, “Jaitley was really very hurt.”

In a statement, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said Arun Jaitley's demise was a "huge loss" to him personally. "I have lost a leader and guide in his death. Twenty days ago, when I called on him, he was in high praise of me on my political achievements, particularly the BJP's unprecedented victory in Karnataka, where we faced the coalition set-up of Congress and JD(S)," he said.