Hectic parleys and hard fought bargains were struck as beleagured Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa managed to keep his job. Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa gives a behind the scenes look at how this provebial escape came about.
When everyone thought it was curtains for Yeddyurappa, he managed to pull off the escape act once again. Ever since he led the Bharatiya Janata Party to form its first government in South India, Yeddyurappa has nearly lost his chair atleast four times.
This time however everyone thought Yeddyurappa would have to go and while he constantly dodged the BJP high command, even some of his cabinet colleagues thought that he was on his way out.
Yeddyurappa managed to win the game with the high command which involed some hard bargaining.
What Yeddyurappa told the BJP top brass
Yeddyurappa, who dodged the BJP high command for nearly a week first sent his emissaries to New Delhi to talk with the high command.
During the first round of talks the high command was not impressed and continued to tell his emissaries that there was no way that they could let Yeddyurappa continue when there were so many serious charges against him. However the emissaries then convinced the high command that Yeddyurappa should be permitted to stay on till December at least since the panchayat elections were round the corner and a change of guard could lead to an embarrassing result in these polls.
At this point of time, the high command said that it was important that Yeddyurappa himself should be talking to them directly.
Yeddyurappa, who was in Puttaparthi, decided to fly to New Delhi and hold talks with the BJP top brass.
From day one, it was evident that Yeddyurappa would not give up without a fight. He constantly reminded the high command that they could not take a decision to sack him based on allegations made by the opposition. He maintained that it was the opposition's job to to make allegations and try and bring down the government and the high command should not yield to such manipulations.
In addition to this, Yeddyurappa also summoned his close aides (both MPs and MLAs) and held a parliamentary board meeting in which he managed to garner their support. This was also conveyed to the high command and the chief minister told them that the high command could not take a decision when his MLAs rallied behind him. Although all his MLAs were not present this meeting, the fact that none of them voiced any dissent in Karnataka also worked to his advantage.
The Reddy faction which has been gunning for Yeddyurappa's head for quite sometime also realised that any move against the chief minister could prove fatal to the government and they were in no position to lose power in Karnataka at this moment at least.
In addition to this, Yeddyurappa also managed to exert pressure on the high command through the religious leaders and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders in Karnataka. The religious leaders who have a major say in Karnataka's votebanks went a step ahead and some of them even threatened that 'the state would burn' if Yeddyurappa was replaced.
The high command resisted all these threats and explanations to some extent. They felt that it would be better to have another round of talks with Yeddyurappa and this is when he decided to talk tough.
In that crucial meeting, Yeddyurappa took the attack to the Reddy brothers and also Karnataka MP Ananth Kumar. "You chose to act against me on charges which have not been proved yet. What about the Reddys against whom there are so many charges and what about Ananth Kumar who has relentlessly tried to weaken my government since the day it has been formed. Before you think of acting against me, take action against them. If you want to hold me accountable for my alleged follies then the same logic should apply to the likes of Ananth Kumar and the Reddy brothers."
"If I am forcibly shown the door, that will be the end of the BJP in Karnataka and the party will disintegrate. You should also take note of the effect that it will have on your larger plans of building the party in South India. It is not right for you to change me and disturb all that," threatened Yeddyurappa.
"These charges have not been proven yet. There is a commission of inquiry that I have set up. I won't wait for the verdict of the commission, which may take a long time. Whether I am guilty or not will be proved in the panchayat elections, hich are to be held in December. Let me seek justice before the people and if they elect the BJP then that would prove everything. However if the people feel that I am incapable and I am at fault then they will not vote for me. In such an event I won't wait for the high command's decision, I will step aside gracefully," said the Karnataka CM.
In addition to this, Yeddyurappa landed in New Delhi with reams of documents which detailed the alleged acts of omission and commission by former chief ministers, Dharam Singh and S M Krishna. "There are charges against them which are worse than what I am charged with and yet they were not asked to quit since the Congress felt that the charges were not proved. Why are you meting out separate treatment to me?" Yeddyurappa sought to know.
In the face of such a defence the BJP high command finally gave in and let Yeddyurappa continue as Karnataka's chief minister.
Image: Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa | Photograph: KPN Photos