Bangalore:Two days after the Supreme Court ordered a federal probe against him in an illegal mining case, former Karnataka chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B.S. Yeddyurappa triggered a crisis in the state unit of his party.
On Sunday, he praised Congress president Sonia Gandhi and criticized his successor chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, calling him a traitor.
Tough talk: A 2010 photo of B.S. Yeddyurappa. (HT)
The BJP heads the government in Karnataka, and the Congress party leads the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.
“When Sonia Gandhi came to Tumkur (a district in Karnataka), I noticed that Congress party people are united and supportive. If any of their party members get into trouble, they help each and resolve the issue,” Yeddyurappa said at a function here.
Referring to Gowda, he said that “a traitor who did not keep his promise is giving sermons. It is like the devil quoting the scriptures”.
Gowda took over as the Karnataka chief minister in August last year from Yeddyurappa, who had to step down because of investigations into his alleged role in illegal mining in the state.
Yeddyurappa said some BJP members were waiting to grab a position during his crisis. “In our party, our leaders will be happy only after some kind of punishment is handed out, and that is difference with Sonia Gandhi,” he said.
Some media reports on Saturday said that seven loyalists of Yeddyurappa had handed over their resignation letters to him, to be forwarded to the chief minister. Copies of the letters were not made available to the media.
Reports said Yeddyurappa too was contemplating to resign from the state assembly and form a new party.
“I don’t know. He has not submitted any resignation,” said Gowda. “I cannot comment on such news so far. Certainly not.”
State BJP president K.S. Eshwarappa said the party has always stood by Yeddyurappa. “We will help him in all possible ways,” he said.
On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered a Central Bureau Investigation probe into transactions between Yeddyurappa’s family and Jindal Steel in the illegal mining case. Analysts see this as a serious setback for Yeddyurappa, who was hoping to be reinstated as the chief minister by the central leadership.
Political analyst and Jain University pro vice-chancellor Sandeep Shastri said the court’s order was a wonderful straw for the BJP central leadership to grab on after the series of rebellions staged by Yeddyurappa.
Shastri said the BJP’s prospects in next year’s assembly elections will be affected as the party was clearly split across the middle. “Though the support for Yeddyurappa within the BJP legislature party is expected to dwindle, his keen supporters are likely to fight against the current dispensation,” he added.
PTI contributed to this story.