Yeddy Keeps BJP on Edge
The Karnataka strongman falls in line once again, but won’t keep quiet until his loyalist is in the CM’S chair, says
IMMEDIATELY AFTER BS Yeddyurappa’s two-day rebellion drama that started on 14 May failed to move the BJP for a change in the state leadership, the CBI, on directions of the apex court, moved in on him in a series of raids at his firm and houses, as well as those of his relatives. Though the former chief minister was reigned in by the high command from splitting the party, insiders say that his primary objective from the fizzled rebellion was to get the party to support him in the mining case and prevent his opponents within it from using the CBI probe to target him.
The immediate catalyst for the Lingayat leader’s purported move of publicly announcing a break from the BJP was the Supreme Court decision on 11 May to institute a CBI investigation against him on charges of nepotism, land acquisition and favouring top mining companies. For Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda, the CBI probe has come as a lifesaver, ending any chance Yeddyurappa had of being made chief minister again.
On 15 May, CBI sleuths raided the Prerana Education Society owned by Yeddyurappa, houses at Race Course and Dollars Colony in Bengaluru and of those close to him in Shimoga in connection with the 20 crore donation probe the Society received from South West Mining Limited, a company owned by MP Naveen Jindal. Additionally, the investigating agency is also probing a case of undue favour, where land worth 40 lakh belonging to Yeddyurappa’s relatives was allegedly bought for 20 crore by the mining company.
Though Yeddyurappa has put up a brave face in public and said that he would be exonerated by the CBI, in private, he has been pulling strings to see to it that he gets away scot-free. “All this drama of defiance was to make sure that he gets support in the mining case,” says a senior leader on the condition of anonymity. “He is afraid that the CBI is out to get him. He thinks that if he doesn’t put someone loyal in the chief minister’s chair, there’s a fair chance that his enemies in the party would cooperate with the CBI in bringing him down.”
Hence, one of his key demands in the coming days would be that Gowda should step down and a man of his choice should become the chief minister.
Earlier, Yeddyurappa had plans to project his protégé Shobha Karandlaje as the chief minister but knowing that his own followers would oppose her candidature (she is a political lightweight and a Vokkaliga, rather than a Lingayat), he had decided to settle for either Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani or PWD Minister CM Udasi. He wants the chief minister of his choice to help him in preventing crucial documents coming in the hands of the CBI,