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What BJP may do to save face, govt in Karnataka

Last updated on: July 26, 2011 13:29 IST

What BJP may do to save face, govt in Karnataka

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

Ahead of the release of Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde's report on illegal mining in the state, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa convened an emergency meeting at his residence on Tuesday to decide the future course of action.

Sources who attended that meeting said there was no discussion about any leadership change and that Yeddyurappa was standing firm on his decision not to quit. It was decided that a legislature party meeting will be held after the report is released on Wednesday where in they would decide on the future course of action.

The Bharatiya Janata Party high command, meanwhile, has indicated that it could accept Yeddyurappa's option of setting up an internal committee to look into the allegations against the CM and his sons. This would give the BJP time.

Moreover, the statements -- despite the U-turn -- by former telecom minister Andimuthu Raja against the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram has given the BJP more ammunition to fight the Congress.

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BJP top brass does not want to act in haste against Yeddyurappa

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During the meeting held at his house, Yeddyurappa made it clear that the line of defence would be both the phone tapping issue and the allegations made against the Prime Minister and the Home Minister.

They (PM and HM) would not step down merely on allegations and when matters against me are before the court, one should wait until the court decides. Moreover, I have also asked the high command to set up a committee, Yeddyurappa said.

In New Delhi, the BJP top brass does not want to act in haste against Yeddyurappa. Although they would prefer that Yeddyurappa steps down on his own, that does not appear to be the case as of now.

Karnataka is a very important state for the BJP and they would not want any crisis within the party as of now.



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The Lingayat factor

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Also, there exists the Lingayat factor. Yeddyurappa has been dishing out support from that community, which forms nearly 25 per cent of the vote bank in Karnataka. For the community, there is only one leader and that is Yeddyurappa.

In his three years as the Chief Minister, Yeddyurappa has given the right sound bytes regarding this community. Apart from the large amount of funds to mutts through state-sponsored programmes, he has always made the right gestures which would benefit this community. The Lingayat community will continue to back the BJP only if Yeddyurappa is around.

The BJP cannot sit on the issue forever. They will need to show in public domain that they are doing something on the report.

For starters, they would look to implement a lot of suggestions that the report makes. They would also set up an internal committee to look into the allegations against the chief minister and his family.


Image: The Kudala Sangama is an important pilgrimage centre for the Lingayat people

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BJP may sacrifice one of the Reddys

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This brings us to the Reddy brothers whose names have figured prominently in every possible report remotely connected with mining. There are three from the Bellary belt who are in the cabinet.

Although the Reddys and Yeddyurappa cant see eye to eye, they are still very close to each other. If need be the BJP may sacrifice one of the Reddys to show the public that action has been taken.

This time the Reddys would not protest, as their sole intention today is that the government survives. They have lost their clout in the party and have no support from Andhra Pradesh following the death of YSR.

If the BJP government in Karnataka falls, they are well aware of the heat they will face from the Union government. As long as there is a BJP government in Karnataka, they can consider themselves safe.


Image: The Reddy brothers

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