June 07 2020
BJP orders exit, Yeddyurappa resists, Reddys supporting him
27 July 2011

  Once Lokayukta Santosh Hegde's report on illegal mining had been presented, life went on fast forward for BS Yeddyurappa. The Karnataka Chief Minister, strongly indicted in the report, flew down to Delhi on a chartered flight and met BJP president Nitin Gadkari and other top party leaders late in the night. Sources say he emerged from that meeting with his fate sealed - the party leadership made it clear he had to go.  (Watch: Who is BS Yeddyurappa?)
Very early on Thursday morning, Mr Yeddyurappa flew back to Bangalore. "Till 2 am last night, we were meeting senior party leaders. We have a cabinet meeting today. I will go to Delhi again on July 31 to discuss," he said on his arrival in Bangalore.

In Delhi, the BJP's top decision-making body, the parliamentary board, is meeting now to formally take a decision on Mr Yeddyurappa's fate. As he arrived for the meeting, a senior BJP leader said, "We will take a decision."

Speaking to NDTV yesterday, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad had said, "Illegal mining is wrong. There is no doubt about it. The party will take a judicious decision that's expected of us."

Not that the Karnataka CM is going down without a fight; and all eyes are now on whether he will exit quietly or turn rebel. Sources said at last night's meeting at Mr Gadkari's house - which he attended armed with a team of legal experts - Mr Yeddyurappa resisted his removal saying there was no evidence against him. As he arrived in Delhi he had told reporters, "There is a 3 pm cabinet meeting tomorrow. After going through details I will formulate my response. There is nothing new in the report. The question of resigning does not arise." (Watch)
Mr Yeddyurappa will meet state BJP leaders at his residence in Bangalore today. Expected at that meeting are the powerful Reddy brothers of Bellary, who too have been found guilty in the Hegde report.  The Reddy brothers, who are mining barons, had earlier rebelled against Mr Yeddyurappa, but now seem to be standing by him in this common hour of crisis.

The Hegde report has recommended that the Chief Minister be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act. (Watch: Yeddyurappa, family involved in illegal mining, says Justice Hegde)
Lokayukta names CM, family in report on illegal mining

Mr Hegde is the Lokayukta or ombudsman of Karnataka.  His report -10,000 pages that filled two steel trunks - says that between 2006 and 2010, the state lost Rs. 16,085 crore because of illegal mining. It indicts Mr Yeddyurappa and his children for illicit relations with mining companies.
Other senior politicians are also found guilty of sanctioning or participating in illegal mining.  They include former Chief Minister and Opposition leader HD Kumaraswamy; the Reddy brothers - Janardhana and Karunakara - who are mining barons and cabinet ministers; and Congress MP Anil Lad.
The charges against Mr Yeddyurappa are so grim that even his famed skills for political survival could not save the day.  Mr Hegde finds that a trust fund run by the Chief Minister's family in his home area of Shimoga received Rs. 10 crore from a company dealing in iron-ore.  The donor was not financially stable, and borrowed the money it paid the Trust.  The Lokayukta also says that a mining company purchased an acre of land for Rs. 20 crore from the Trust, whereas the land was not worth more than Rs. 1.25 crore. Mr Hegde described this as "an abnormal payment" and said, "We have come to an incontrovertible conclusion that this donation and sale consideration has been made for reasons other than genuine reasons." (Watch: Yeddyurappa, the man with the political six-pack)

Mr Hegde said that he has come to the conclusion that there "is a possible offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act" and he has asked Governor HR Bhardwaj to decide what action needs to be taken now against the Chief Minister and the other politicians he has faulted. Mr Bhardwaj has publicly and frequently clashed with the BJP government and has in the past recommended that Mr Yeddyurappa be dismissed and President's Rule be introduced in Karnataka.

Next Karnataka CM: Yeddyurappa's choice?

For the BJP, the immediate task at hand is to find a successor to Mr Yeddyurappa. Sources say the party will make it a respectable exit for him by selecting a leader of his choice for the post of Karnataka Chief Minister. Here is a list of possible successors:

Jagadish Shettar
He is currently the Rural Development Minister in Karnataka. Mr Shettar is not a nationally-known figure, but being a Lingayat like Yeddyurappa can work in his favour. Or it can work against him - if Yeddyurappa wants to stay the dominant Lingayat leader.

He is the Karnataka BJP president and belongs to the backward caste. Mr Eshwarappa, too, is not a nationally-known figure.

Sadananda Gowda
Former BJP state president, Mr Gowda is a non-controversial leader. He belongs to the Vokkaliga caste.

Ananth Kumar
Long considered a Yeddyurappa rival, Mr Ananth Kumar is believed to be working against him behind his back. Publicly, however, he and Yeddyurappa put on a united front. Mr Kumar is known at the national level. But he is a Brahmin so does not command a large vote bank.

VS Acharya
Former Home Minister, Mr VS Acharya is a Yeddyurappa loyalist. He has faced trouble many times in the past. Mr Acharya is a Brahmin, which may work against him.

Suresh Kumar
He is the current Law Minister and has a very clean image. As a Brahmin, he may not have a large vote bank to count on but a non-controversial image may work in his favour.

Shobha Karandlaje
She is not really in the line to succeed Yeddyurappa. And her proximity to the Karnataka Chief Minister may work against her. Ms Karandlaje belongs to the Vokkaliga caste.

Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/bjp-tells-yeddyurappa-he-cannot-continue-as-karnataka-cm-sources-122572&cp



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