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'Jaganmohan link' fears coming true for BJP

'Jaganmohan link' fears coming true for BJP

Author: Kumar Uttam & Kestur Vasuki
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: October 31, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/212515/'Jaganmohan-link'-fears-coming-true-for-BJP.html

Cong, JD(S) waiting to destabilise BSY Govt; Central BJP summons 'rebels' to New Delhi

The drama in Karnataka BJP will now be played out in New Delhi, with the party leadership summoning the "rebel leaders" to the national Capital on Saturday to defuse the crisis, even as the BJP's worst fears about the "Andhra link" behind the turbulence seemed to be coming true.

Sources say Assembly Speaker Jagadish Shettar, influential mine-owning Bellary brothers - Tourism Minister Gali Janardan Reddy and Revenue Minister Karunakar Reddy - and Health Minister B Sriramulu would be in the Capital on Saturday to hold a dialogue with central leaders after they failed to sort out differences in Bangalore.

Even though the BJP has ruled out any leadership change, the rebels have projected Shettar as their chief ministerial candidate. Incumbent Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa is open to inducting him into the Cabinet. Earlier, there were reports about Shettar rejecting Yeddyurappa's Deputy Chief Minister offer.

However, sources close to the CM said that inducting Shettar as the Deputy CM was not possible because he belonged to Yeddyurappa's community - Lingayat - and it would be politically naïve to give two plum posts in the Government to leaders from the same community. Shettar showed no signs of reconciliation and told The Pioneer that he was certainly in the fray (for the chief ministership). He was confident of the party's central leadership taking a favourable decision looking at the rebellion in the ranks against Yeddyurappa.

"It has become a Tughlak durbar. I have told (Arun) Jaitley about my stand. The situation now has gone out of control. They have called me to Delhi and I am going (on Saturday). Let me see what happens," Shettar said.

Political observers, however, say both the Janata Dal(S) and the Congress were watching the developments keenly and might look at an opportunity to destabilise the first BJP Government in South India.

In fact, a senior Union minister from Karnataka has said that his high command was watching the developments and was in touch with the State unit. JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also tried to fish in troubled waters by indicating that his party was not averse to supporting either the Congress or the BJP.

Before leaving for Mumbai, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who had been camping in Bangalore for the last two days to defuse the crisis, ruled out a change in leadership and lauded Yeddyurappa for doing a great job. Yeddyurappa, who attended office on Friday after three days, not only spoke about relief work for the flood-affected people of North Karnataka but was also confident of resolving the crisis.

According to the BJP sources, senior BJP leader LK Advani, party president Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj would talk to the rebel leaders to save the Government. Swaraj holds considerable clout among the rebels since she had contested the Lok Sabha byelection from Bellary against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. She even regularly comes to Bellary to perform Varamhalakshmi Vratha.

Meanwhile, BJP's worst fears about the "Andhra link" behind the Karnataka crisis are apparently coming true. The trouble started a couple of months ago when many senior BJP leaders were flooded with complaints about efforts by the Bellary brothers to foment dissidence in the Karnataka Government at the behest of then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

The nexus among the Bellary brothers, Health Minister B Sriramulu -- though he is not part of the Reddy family -- and YSR was so evident that Brahmani Steels, a company promoted by Reddy brothers, decided to set up a 10 MT steel plant in YSR's home district of Kadapa.

"YSR's death was a major setback for Bellary brothers. But YSR's son and Kadapa MP Jaggan Mohan Reddy took off from where his father had left. Jagan was actively involved with these businessmen-politicians even when his father was alive," sources who have seen Bellary brothers from close quarters said.

The BJP leaders in New Delhi suspect that there was "definite link" between turbulence in Karnataka and the ongoing crisis in Andhra Pradesh. Jagan has unsuccessfully tried to convince the Congress leadership to elevate him as the Chief Minister after his father's death.

Sources revealed to The Pioneer that the Bellary brothers upped the ante after Congress sounded out to Jagan to get "actively involved" in Karnataka and bring out the "desired results" before laying claim to the chief ministership in Andhra Pradesh. So it did not surprise many in the BJP when more than a dozen 'rebel' BJP MLAs shifted base to Andhra Pradesh and checked into a hotel, where no outsider was allowed to meet them.

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