The signs are ominous for the BJP across India. So feels B.S. Yediyurappa. The former Karnataka chief minister is determined to launch his regional party, the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), after he told BJP troubleshooter Arun Jaitley last week that he could not go back on his decision to leave the party he brought to power for the first time in southern India in 2008. “Nobody speaks. Nobody’s happy. They are all keeping quiet. But I’m in touch with all leaders, Gopinath Mundeji, Vasundhararajeji and others,” Yediyurappa tells Imran Qureshi in an interview.:
The BJP has gone over board in trying to appease you and stop you from launching a regional party. What has made you so bitter about the party that you brought to power in Karnataka ?
First, H. D. Kumaraswamy ( JDS leader who did not hand over power to B. S. Yeddyurappa as per the JDS-BJP coalition government arrangement) betrayed me. That is one type of betrayal. Then, there was the other type of betrayal. Justice Santosh Hegde made an observation which made it clear that as chief minister I did not have to resign. After the Lokayukta report of Justice Hegde, no action was initiated against any official. The only man punished was B. S. Yeddyurappa. National leaders of the BJP were merciless against me when there was not even a court verdict against me. Strictly speaking, the Lokayukta report should have gone to the Assembly and discussed. They gave the reason that they will not be able to target Sheila Dikshit, Delhi’s chief minister, on the CWG scam. Not once did anyone talk about me in Parliament. When I got relief from the Karnataka high court, they did not keep their promise of making me chief minister again. I was cheated. Nitin Gadkari had promised me and Basavaraj Bommai ( close associate of Yeddyurappa and water resources minister) that within 24 hours, I would be made state party president. Then he said, once I get relief from the high court, I can become chief minister. Even when I had the Hubli meeting, where lakhs had assembled and you are witness to it, I received so many calls from central leaders of the BJP not to take any decision. They even went to the extent that they will make the announcement on that day itself. I waited for a year. Now, I cannot even dream of going back after announcing the formation of the Karnataka Janata Paksha ( party). This is what I told Arun Jaitelyji, who I greatly respect, that I cannot go back on my decision to leave the BJP.
Why are you so bitter about the role of Ananth Kumar and L. K. Advani ?
K. S. Eshwarappa, the state BJP president, wants me to clear my name entirely in the court. He also says that I indulged in casteist politics and brought in people from outside the BJP to form the government and this damaged the image of the BJP. What kind of a circus we played to form the government in 2008 ? We were under such pressure from the central and state party leaders to form the government by hook or by crook. After all this, Advaniji even said that he will not come to Parliament if Yeddyurappa does not resign from the chief ministership. So, I had to resign.
Do you feel discriminated against in the BJP ? Do you feel there are two sets of rules in the BJP— one for Nitin Gadkari and another for leaders like you and Vasundhara Raje and Narender Modi ?
What is the role of the RSS in this politics of discrimination ? Do you think the RSS favours those who belong to one caste so they can remain in power ? Like Gadkari can but not you.
From Kalyan Singh, Vaghela, Madanlal Khurana, to Vasundhara Raje, Gopinath Munde, Narender Modi —nobody is happy. Discrimination is evident. Ondu kannu sunna, ondu kannu benne (They deceive as easily as they promise). RSS is not interfering. They have left it to the party. Advani has a one point programme to make Ananth Kumar chief minister. They thought Ananth Kumar will automatically become chief minister after me. But, then I made Sadananda Gowda and Jagdish Shettar chief ministers.
Have you, at any point of time, discussed the politics of discrimination in the context of caste with other leaders in the BJP like Vasundhara Raje or Narender Modi ?
Nobody speaks. Nobody is happy. They are all keeping quiet. But, I am in touch with all leaders, Gopinath Mundeji, Vasundharaji and others. Not Modi.
Have you discussed splitting of the party with your counterparts ?
No, we have not spoken about it.
You have had some discussions with some leaders of the Congress party. What are the signals you are getting from them ? And, what kind of a caste axis are you trying to form to thwart the charge that yours will be a purely Lingayat party ?
No. I am not in contact with any of the Congress leaders. But, I am getting tremendous response from the people. In fact, I would say that I am getting more response now than when I went to them when Kumaraswamy betrayed me. All sections of people, including backward classes, scheduled castes and tribes and minorities are coming in large numbers to meet me. You know, the interesting part is nobody has said that I should remain in the BJP. Everyone, particularly the minorities, are saying that I should not go back on my decision to form the Karnataka Janata Paksha. Today, people are not getting the benefits of the schemes and programmes that I introduced. This is the era of regional parties. West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab and other states. Whether it is the Congress or the BJP, the strength of the national parties is depleting. Karnataka is best suited for a regional party. And, regional parties are able to get a lot more from the Centre. Even Chandrababu Babu of the TDP got so much during the NDA regime at the Centre.
A shorter, edited version of this appears in print
The old Yeddy (‘Nobody in the BJP is happy...’, Nov 26) has become honourable, sir, your excellency as soon as news is out he’s quitting the BJP. Great show, guys.
“All that I could make out of the vague statement of Yediyurappa that ‘NOBODY In The BJP Is Happy’ is that he has renamed himself from Yedu to ‘Dr. NO’.”
The Old Yeddy has become Honorable, Sir, Yours Excellency Yediyurappa the majesty, when he is quitting BJP!!!! Great show Media!
Not enough money in the BJP.
The Congress might tolerate some more corruption as long as he is with them on the 'anti-male reservation formula'.
The whole idea is, even if there is a national executive, the executive acts in the singular. The B. J. P. does see Ms. Sonia Gandhi as the undisputed leader of the Congress, and the B. J. P. national executive acts like they perceive Ms. Gandhi to act, and they feel it is not apart from normal while the Congress might be acting apart from normal. Mr. Yediyurappa was seen to be democratic in Karnataka, and the B. J. P. national executive might appreciate, that he was seen as perhaps a leader not to be asked to be merely a figurehead. He did have the two members in his cabinet who were perceived to be corrupt in the mining affairs of Bellary. The general perception in Karnataka was, that he is good for the state. It seems to be a situation, untractable. The gentleman must be trying to fathom, why he is regarded as a well meaning person, and why he entered the political arena.
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