BJP in a fix as Yeddyurappa refuses to relinquish post

BJP in a fix as Yeddyurappa refuses to relinquish post

Bangalore: Political uncertainty continued to dog Karnataka on Monday with chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under fire for allegedly allotting land to a firm in which his two sons are partners, refusing to step down.

Even as BJP parliamentarians and some other leaders from Karnataka voiced support for Yeddyurappa, the party’s central leadership held a meeting of its legislators from the state before the chief minister’s arrival in New Delhi.

The opposition in Karnataka, led by the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS), has been demanding Yeddyurappa’s resignation in the wake of the alleged scam.

Yeddyurappa had ignored the leadership’s summons to be in New Delhi for talks on Sunday. He reached the national capital on Monday in a special flight from Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh.

“Nobody has asked me to resign," Yeddyurappa said upon his arrival. He later met BJP parliamentarians from his state.

“He is not guilty until proven," said BJP state president V. Dhananjaya Kumar. “Hence, the parliamentarians decided to wait for one year for the inquiry report and chalk the future course of action."

Yeddyurappa also met BJP’s leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

A senior BJP member said the party’s central leadership wants Yeddyurappa to step down to protect the party’s image, but is also wary of destabilizing the first BJP government in any southern state.

“The leadership has been working on his replacement, but is trying to convince him to step down to avoid any confrontation. The situation remains fluid," said the leader, who did not want to be named.

Earlier in the day, Yeddyurappa sent his trusted aide and cabinet minister V.S. Acharya for talks to New Delhi. After meeting party president Nitin Gadkari, Acharya said the BJP leadership has taken no decision on Yeddyurappa’s fate.

On Sunday, the party’s top leadership had authorized Gadkari to take a decision on the matter. The party chief, who is currently in Nagpur, is expected to meet Yeddyurappa on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, JD(S) Karnataka unit president H.D. Kumaraswamy criticized the BJP leadership for remaining silent even though he had proved Yeddyurappa was guilty.

In Bangalore, governor H.R. Bharadwaj appointed retired Karnataka high court judge B. Padmaraj on Monday to investigate the denotification of land and some other irregularities.

Padmaraj will probe the illegal allotment of sites and denotifying of land by Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB), Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) and Urban Local Bodies (ULB). Alleged land scams dating back to 1995 will be investigated.

The governor has ordered a report within a year.

PTI contributed to this story