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'The Congress can't digest a BJP govt in South'

Last updated on: January 31, 2011 13:01 IST

'The Congress can't digest a BJP govt in South'


Bharatiya Janata Party leader Venkaiah Naidu tells Gyan Varma that the recent crisis in Karnataka is politically motivated

This is the fifth time, ever since B S Yeddyurappa came to power in Karnataka, that his government is facing a political crisis. Why is the Karnataka government constantly under attack?

The Congress party at the Centre is unable to digest the fact that there is a BJP government in the south of India. The BJP didn't get an absolute majority initially, but we had to make small compromises to form a stable government. Since it was the first time we were in power, we had to make some independent members ministers.

The second reason is that the central government and the Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj are creating problems. The Governor is deliberately creating defections, otherwise there is no scope for an alternative government in the state.

The Congress party and the Janata Dal-Secular cannot form a government in Karnataka because of the popularity of the BJP government. We have won the Assembly, Corporation, Panchayat and Taluk elections. There have been 16 by-elections in the state. The Congress has won two while the BJP has won eight seats. The mandate of the people is clearly with the BJP.
It is true that the BJP has to learn a few lessons. We will continue for the full five-year term. The people of the state are happy with the general administration, development programmes, health schemes and rural schemes.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari has categorically said Yeddyurappa's actions in the land deals were immoral but not illegal. Is the BJP trying to defend someone who is immoral?

I don't know the context in which the BJP president made these comments. What Yeddyurappa has done might be a mistake, but it is not a crime.

Previous chief ministers of the state like S M Krishna and Dharam Singh had also done de-notification and allocation of land in the past. There is a provision in the law that enables this. Yeddyurappa has only followed the examples set in the past, and this might be his mistake. I have recently come to know that both Krishna and H D Kumaraswamy have de-notified hundreds of acres of land. I also know that in an area of 60 acres, Kumaraswamy has got 53 acres of land. But the impression is being created that only Yeddyurappa has done it.

It was a mistake and one must learn from one's mistakes. He has already surrendered the plots and ordered a judicial inquiry. The Governor had no business to give a prosecution sanction when the inquiry is not even complete.

Image: BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu


'The BJP has the support of the people'

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With a number of cases being filed against the chief minister, do you think it will be possible for Yeddyurappa to survive?

The people will see the merit in these cases. The support of people is with the BJP. Everyone has understood the role of the Governor and that he should have waited for the judicial probe to be completed and also the Lokayukta to complete the investigation.

Although the BJP is backing Yeddyurappa, the alliance partners of the National Democratic Alliance are not happy with the chief minister and consider him a liability in the fight against corruption and have said he should resign. How long can the BJP continue to support him?

I would like to advise my friends from the Left parties that they should realise that if this approach is adopted, no state government will be safe in the country. This time the Central government has targeted the BJP and next it could be the Leftists.

This is not the first time that the BJP has expressed its displeasure against Bhardwaj to the President. Do you believe these actions will yield any result in favour of the chief minister?

Let us see what happens. We had met the prime minister the last time but nothing happened and now we have met the President. India is a democracy and there is Parliament, where we can raise these issues. What more can be done in a democratic set-up?

Image: BJP president Nitin Gadkari

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'The Governor's actions are unconstitutional'

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It is often alleged that the BJP is not acting against Yeddyurappa because the party is afraid that not only will the state government collapse but also the party will be ruined in Karnataka. How do you react to such allegations?

The Karnataka chief minister is a popular leader and the support of the Lingayat community is with the BJP. I don't agree to this charge of being afraid. There is no question of being afraid. Unless the investigations are complete and we reach a conclusion, there is no question of anybody being guilty.

After the Governor has given a prosecution sanction against Yeddyurappa, what is your next course of action? Do you plan to fight this political battle in court?

We have decided to hold rallies against the Governor all over the state and will also take it up in Parliament. Even the critics of the BJP have openly said the actions of the Governor were unconstitutional. He has to go from the state now, there is no other way. I have told the PM that if the Governor is so keen to become a Congress member, then he should be made the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee.

The BJP has alleged that the actions of the Governor are unconstitutional and politically motivated. Senior leaders have said he has acted on the directions of the Congress high command. Your comments on this.

It is a fact that that the Governor has acted on the directions of the Central government. It becomes even more evident from the support the Governor has got from Home Minister P Chidambaram and Law Minister Veerappa Moily. He came with the mandate to create problems and destabilise a democratically elected government in Karnataka. He has been encouraging defections, he has given unconstitutional directions to the Speaker of the Assembly, he had recommended President's rule in the state and also compared the chief minister with a thief. He must be recalled by the President. The Governor is the same man who had let go Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors scam and also allowed his foreign accounts' to be de-frozen.

Image: Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa

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'The BJP has Never supported violence'

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Apart from the repeated attacks by the Opposition parties in Karnataka, the chief minister has also been attacked by a section of the BJP leadership that is unhappy with him. How do you see him handling the attacks from all sides?

Nobody in the BJP has attacked the chief minister in public. There were some internal problems in the past, but all that has been sorted out. Everybody in the party, both in the central leadership and in the state, support Yeddyurappa.

After the BJP called for a statewide bandh, there was violence all over the state. Now the Congress has called for a protest against Yeddyurappa. Do you expect more violence in Karnataka?

It was a bandh by the people of the state and our views were echoed. There were some incidents of violence in some parts of the state but the BJP has never supported violence. The state government is there and it will not let any violence happen.

Image: Karnataka governor H R Bharadwaj

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