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Are IT raids a cloak-and-dagger message to Yediyurappa?

The two events appear unconnected, but JDS leader and former CM H D Kumaraswamy may have summed it up adroitly when he said the raid was just “internal party rivalry” playing out.

Published: 08th October 2021 05:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th October 2021 05:56 AM   |  A+A-

BS Yediyurappa

BS Yediyurappa

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While rumours were afloat that an unhappy former chief minister BS Yediyurappa was planning to leave the BJP with a group of loyalists, Income Tax sleuths raided a key Yediyurappa aide, A Umesh. The two events appear unconnected, but JDS leader and former CM H D Kumaraswamy may have summed it up adroitly when he said the raid was just “internal party rivalry” playing out.

Curiously, the raids come a few days after BJP Vice-President B Y Vijayendra’s followers expressed anguish when he was omitted from a list of leaders given charge of the Hanagal and Sindagi bypolls. Thereafter, Vijayendra was hurriedly included by embarrassed party leaders in a revised list, much as an afterthought.

Tenuous though the link may appear, Umesh, whose house and office were raided by Income Tax sleuths on Thursday, was Yediyurappa’s trusted aide. Umesh was said to have been originally appointed as a driver-cum-conductor with BMTC, but worked as Yediyurappa’s PA on deputation for most of his two-year term as CM.

Umesh, who is from Ayanur, was allegedly the go-to man for irrigation deals, sources said. In spite of his lowly government position, he moved around in a chauffeur-driven government car, a facility available only to high-ranking officers. He is said to own a valuable property near Peenya, and has been close to the Yediyurappa family for over a decade.

Sources who worked in the CMO earlier, wondered if the raids could be an effort to draw Basavaraj Bommai out of the former chief minister’s circle of influence, by trying to tarnish his image. It could also be a strategy to discredit Yediyurappa before he launched his much-awaited Karnataka tour, that the party was watching with some consternation.

Meanwhile, BJP MLC Adagur H Vishwanath said that from the time former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi was trapped in a sting and resigned, the ministry was run by Vijayendra through his proxy, Umesh. He also alleged that for the Rs 20,000-crore Upper Bhadra Project, about 10 per cent was paid as bribe. It may be recalled that Vishwanath has been extremely critical of Yediyurappa, because he was not included in the cabinet after quitting the JDS and joining BJP.



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