BENGALURU: Operation Lotus, for now, appears to be on the back burner, as the BJP turns its focus on the controversial Jindal land deal, and adopts an aggressive posture on the IMA fraud case. BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa has probably been tipped off by the national leadership to go slow, and that it’s not ready to court controversy in the next six months. Leading from the front with overnight protests, the BJP strongman seems to have transitioned from wannabe CM to belligerent opposition leader. He was guarded as he spoke to The New Sunday Express on the party’s strategy to take on the Congress-JDS government.
You protested against the JSW land deal even after the CM said he would reconsider it...
The government has committed a fraud by deciding to sell the land at a throwaway price. It is guilty so it buckled under our pressure, and we will not keep quiet until the deal is withdrawn.
The Congress-JDS government said it was acting on a 2006-2007 agreement by the then BJP-JDS government
We oppose the sale. We have no issue against Jindal, we are only against the sale. The decision to appoint a sub-committee is just a conspiracy to fool the people. They have already reached an internal understanding. Why are they doing this soon after Lok Sabha elections? No such agreement was reached.
How much time do you give the coalition government ?
I wouldn’t like to give them any specific time period. The MLAs have been fighting over many issues. There are about 20 unhappy legislators, and their decision to walk out will be critical. This government will collapse under its own pressures.
The government says it will complete its term.
I have no problem if it does. We will sit in the opposition. But where is the development? The farm loan waiver is a mess, and money deposited in some farmers’ accounts is being withdrawn. Legislature committee chairman A T Ramaswamy has resigned. There is a lot of discontent within the government. Wait for 15-20 days and see.
Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar said it makes Yeddyurappa happy to say the coalition government will go, and that you have been saying it for a year.
If DK Shivakumar feels happy, let him remain happy for some more time.
If the government falls, will you prefer elections or work on the existing numbers?
There is no question of elections, we have 105 members and will explore constitutional options to form a government.
It is said the central leadership is not backing you on forming a government.
The central leadership has always supported the state party under my leadership, and will support this decision too.
You have been criticizing the state government on the loan waiver...
CM Kumaraswamy promised to waive loans within 24 hours, but not even 20% of the loans have been waived. Many farmers trusted the government and turned defaulters.
Has BJP regained Ballari as its stronghold?
Why Ballari, BJP won 25 + 1 seats and is unshakeable across the state.
Will this cabinet expansion help the government?
They have taken two, let them take four more, they want daylight robbery.
You said this government is dead...
This government is dead although it appears to be alive. Last week, I visited drought-hit areas. The government has failed to tackle drought, and officials are not responding to people’s issues.
Many leaders are throwing their hat into the ring to be BJP state president? Will there be an election for the post?
The party high command will decide.