The expulsion of Dhananjay Kumar, former member of Parliament and a Union minister, from the Bharatiya Janata Party is not likely to go down well with former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa. A staunch Yeddyurappa loyalist, Kumar was expelled on the grounds that he had indulged in anti-party activities.
In an interview with Vicky Nanjappa, Kumar questioned the functioning of the BJP, and alleged that the party was being selective in dealing with corruption.
Did you see the expulsion coming?
I am upset because of the selectiveness in dealing with the issue. Such decisions will affect the party very badly. Our views should have been taken into consideration. We have toiled day and night to build the party. And with regards to the decision against me, yes, I had expected it.
What do you mean by 'selectiveness'?
The BJP literally forced Yeddyurappa out of the post of chief minister when the mining report by the Lokayukta came out against him. Those were mere allegations, and he was not even given an opportunity to explain or fight his case legally.
He stepped down respecting the decision of the leadership. When I say selective, I mean that the same yardstick should apply to everyone in the party. Why has there been no action against Ananth Kumar? He has been accused of being involved in the HUDCO scam and also in the Nira Radia issue. Why is the party quiet on that?
Do you think the party is protecting him?
I don't know. But the BJP is in the hold of a select few and this is doing nothing good for the party.
The bigger question is whether Yeddyurappa will really quit or is this just another open-ended threat?
It is difficult for him to continue in the party. He has not been treated right. Who would not be upset? He was promised a lot, but none of the promises was ever fulfilled.
But promises can always be fulfilled over a period of time. Does he still expect that his demands will be met?
He is serious about quitting. He himself has made it clear that he would.
When is he expected to launch a new party, and what do you think his chances are?
He will launch the new party in December. His chances are good, and he plans to tour the state before he does so. Ultimately, it's the people who will decide, and they know he is a capable leader.
Is it true that you are trying to call it the Karnataka Janata Party?
Yes, that is correct. Even Yeddyurappa has said that this would be the name of the party. He also has said that the symbol would be a bicycle.
Political ambitions apart, what about the stability of the Karnataka government once Yeddyurappa quits?
The government will complete its term. Yeddyurappa has a huge following of leaders in the party and a lot of them will join him eventually. However, he has made it clear that all of them will remain in the BJP and not disturb the government until it completes its term.
He will quit the BJP, build the new party, and his followers will join him at the time of the elections. So, there is no danger to the government.
What do you make of the functioning of the state BJP?
You can see that for yourself. The handling of some issues, such as Cauvery, was not so good. I had mentioned earlier that Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar chose to enhance security at his home rather than on the Bengaluru-Mysore highway which was the epicentre of the agitation.
Your biggest problem appears to be KS Eshwarappa, the deputy chief minister and the state party president.
He had offered to resign as president after being made the deputy CM. But that never happened. I would not want to say much about all this now. God will punish the evil.
What chances does the BJP have of winning the next elections?
It's impossible without Yeddyurappa.