BENGALURU: In yet another major embarrassment to the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government, after Minor Irrigation Minister JC Madhuswamy’s recent outburst, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa dropped a letter bomb on Wednesday, accusing Yediyurappa of interference and authoritarian administration. In his five-page letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala, dated March 31, Eshwarappa has accused Yediyurappa of sanctioning works worth crores to MLAs without his consent and pressuring the Principal Secretary to the RDPR department to approve the works. The letter comes on a day the Karnataka HC permitted an investigation against Yediyurappa in a case related to poaching of MLAs.
The letter is expected to create a political storm in the state BJP which is grappling with the sleaze tapes allegedly involving former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi.Eshwarappa, in his letter, has cited many instances of Yediyurappa approving funds without his consent in violation of The Karnataka Government (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1977.
The RDPR minister, whose rivalry with Yediyurappa is no secret, alleged that the CM directly sanctioned Rs 65 crore to Bengaluru Urban Zilla Panchayat president and put pressure on the Principal Secretary to issue orders, bypassing the minister. “I would also like to quote important decisions taken by the Honourable Chief Minister recently, ignoring me, by sanctioning huge funds on the request of the MLAs to the tune of Rs 774 crore under RDPR, bypassing the minister,” he said .
Advise CM to adhere to rules: Minister to Guv
“Again , he sanctioned another bunch of works to the tune of `460 crore and put pressure on Principal Secretary to issue orders without the approval of the minister,” Eshwarappa alleged. Pointing out that he has stayed all these orders, Eshwarappa urged the Governor to advise Yediyurappa to adhere to rules and “adopt a policy of non-interference in the discharge of constitutional responsibilities by cabinet colleagues”. He added that he has brought the lapses to the attention of senior BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka In-charge General Secretary Arun Singh.
“The contention is arbitrary approval of funds, without logic or consultation with ministers. Favouritism and bias will tick anyone off. The issue has been brought to the notice of party higher-ups. This is a complaint that has been raised by many ministers, but Eshwarappa has officially written about it,” said a BJP national functionary. Sources close to the CM said he was surprised with Eshwarappa’s scathing letter, but had chosen not to react to it yet.
Yediyurappa is expected to take up the matter with the party’s central leadership once the scheduled bye-elections to two Assembly and one Parliamentary seats are completed. Yediyurappa, it is said, believes that Eshwarappa’s letter is a fallout of the MLAs’ meet he held at his residence soon after the legislative session concluded earlier in March. “The CM sanctioned funds for development activities since there were discrepancies in fund distribution earlier. Some MLAs complained to the CM that funds were not being released to their constituencies even after he had sanctioned it. Eshwarappa seems to have written this letter anticipating trouble for stalling release of funds to MLAs,” said a source close to the CM.