BENGALURU: Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa’s letter may have left the BJP divided and red-faced. But it has also compelled the party to come out in support of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. A day after the minister’s controversial letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala, BJP General Secretary in-charge for Karnataka Arun Singh said the act was uncalled for. A visibly uncomfortable Singh said the focus currently was to win the three ensuing bypolls in the state.
“If a minister has an issue, he should talk to the CM and not write to the Governor. Elections are going on and we are confident of winning all three seats. We are concentrating on the bypolls for now, and a senior minister shouldn’t have written such a letter,” Singh told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday. Sources in the BJP said the issue will not be raked up till May, when elections in multiple states conclude and government formation ends.
Meanwhile, back in Bengaluru, even as Yediyurappa maintains a stoic silence over the matter, his Cabinet colleagues and BJP MLAs have come out in support. A host of ministers, including Basavaraj Bommai, R Ashoka, B C Patil, Dr K Sudhakar and more than 10 MLAs, including CM’s political secretary MP Renukacharya and Nehru Olekar held a meeting at Yediyurappa’s residence, and built a fortress of defence around him with their vehement criticism of Eshwarappa.
“We went to polls under Yediyurappa’s leadership, won and are now ministers in his Cabinet. Eshwarappa has released a letter on issues that should have been discussed within the party, and issues within the government should be discussed with the chief minister,” said Ashoka, deeming Eshwarappa’s letter “wrong”.
Bommai, too, defended Yediyurappa. “Because of floods and Covid-19, a lot of works were stalled. MLAs sought funds for development and for almost a year, we couldn’t release funds owing to shortage. The CM -- who is also Finance Minister -- decided to release funds after recovery in our receipts. He has done nothing wrong,” Bommai said, adding that the Governor works on the advice of the Council of ministers, and an administrative matter should have been solved within the government.
Although new to the party himself, Sudhakar reminded Eshwarappa that he was Yediyurappa’s contemporary. “It is embarrassing for the party, government and Eshwarappa himself. He shouldn’t have written such a letter when he could have simply discussed with the CM, who is his contemporary, friend and even hails from the same district,” Sudhakar said. BC Patil went one step ahead and denied all allegations of interference by Yediyurappa in ministerial matters.
Meanwhile, MLAs led by MP Renukacharya vehemently criticised Eshwarappa and urged the Central leadership to initiate action. Even as a set of MLAs is keen on writing to the high command showing support to Yediyurappa, Arun Singh is expected to broker truce between the two warring leaders. While the Central leadership may have come to Yediyurappa’s support for now, the actual fallout of the letter is expected in a couple of months.