Bengaluru: The split in the Karnataka unit of the BJP is wide open with four ministers backing Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa after senior minister KS Eshwarappa’s political ‘letter bomb’ to the Governor accusing the CM of high-handedness.
Revenue Minister and former Deputy CM R Ashoka, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Health Minister Dr Sudhakar and Agriculture Minister BC Patil backed the CM and flayed Eshwarappa.
Conspicuously, other ministers chose to remain silent.
On Wednesday, Eshwarappa, a friend-turned-foe of Yediyurappa, had submitted a written complaint to Governor Vajubhai Vala alleging undue interference in his portfolio of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. He even alleged that the CM was favouring his kin. He said that the allegations had been communicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah as well.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Ashoka said what Eshwarappa did was against the BJP culture. It was only because of Yeddyurappa’s leadership that the party is in power in Karnataka. He defended the CM in exercising his powers in reallocating funds.
“All of us went to elections rallying behind our leader BS Yeddyurappa and won under his supervision. Because of that, we are all ministers today. The letter consists of aspects of internal party matters, which are to be discussed within four walls amongst party members. What has happened is not a good development. Several MLAs had come to the CM for development works in their constituencies and being the Chief Minister and Finance Minister, he has the authority to decide on the demands,” Ashoka said.
“Finding fault with this is not good. If he has a difference of opinion, he should have come and discussed it with the CM. When the government is functioning smoothly, making such statements is not good for the government and will cause embarrassment. I feel this is not good culture,” he added.
Dr Sudhakar said that Eshwarappa’s actions have resulted in an awkward position for the government, the party and Eshwarappa himself. “As CM, Yediyurappa has powers and rights to get any file he wants, and give grants for development work anywhere. Despite this, if the minister had any issues, he could have spoken to BSY and sorted it. As a senior leader and close colleague and being from the same district, he has that access,” he said.
The ‘letter bomb’ came at a time when Yediyurappa is facing hostility on multiple issues from within his party. Many of his cabinet colleagues and his bete noire Basangouda Ramangouda Patil Yatnal, belonging to the Panchamsali community, are demanding reservation. Yatnal, an RSS man, has been claiming for months that a new CM will be installed in the state replacing Yediyurappa. Yediyurappa is also facing embarrassment following the sex-for-job CD scandal that resulted in the resignation of senior minister Ramesh Jarkiholi.