Barely three months after he took on the BJP high command and got Jagadish Shettar installed as Karnataka’s Chief Minister, former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa is now feeling “cheated” and “betrayed” by Shettar. Contrary to his wish that Shettar would dance to his tune, Yeddyurappa feels that the Chief Minister is going out of his control.
“It is unfortunate that Shettar is going his predecessor DV Sadanand Gowda’s way,” the Lingayat strongman charged last week when Shettar gave an additional portfolio to Balachandra Jarakiholi, a known Yeddyurappa detractor, despite opposition by the former chief minister. Yeddyurappa also blamed Shettar for not trying to stop the expulsion of his acolyte V Dhananjay Kumar from the party. Yeddyurappa, who places himself above the party and wants to have a final say in all decisions, had expected the same loyalty from DV Sadanand Gowda. But when he revolted, Yeddyurappa had him replaced with Shettar.
Not surprisingly, Yeddyurappa has threatened to pull down the government if Shettar did not mend his ways. “I sincerely want this government to complete the term as Shettar is our choice. But it is up to him to decide whether he wants to complete his term or not,” said Yeddyurappa. He had wanted ministers of his camp — MP Renukacharya, Sunil Vallyapure, Raju Gouda and Revu Naik Belamagi — be given plum portfolios. But the party high command chose to honour Jarakiholi while neglecting Yeddyurappa who can leave the BJP and launch his own party in December.
Yeddyurappa has been demanding Shettar’s loyalty, overriding the party bosses in New Delhi. On the other hand, Yeddyurappa detractors, both in Bangalore and Delhi, are doing everything possible to provoke the Lingayat strongman to take a drastic step: to leave the BJP on his own, or to pull down the government. To achieve this they are using Shettar.
“If he leaves the BJP, then it is easy for the party to paint him in black saying that he cheated the party which gave him everything, including the CM’s post. If he pulls down the government, then the party can blame him of dislodging the Chief Minister from the Lingayat community and thus destroy his Lingayat vote-bank on which he is mainly depending,” says a BJP insider on the condition of anonymity.
It is with this intention, the party high command took a bold decision to give an additional portfolio to Jarakiholi and expel Yeddyurappa’s close associate Dhananjay Kumar.
Chief Minister Shettar, who is caught between the party and Yeddyurappa, has remained tight-lipped, though he is struggling to make a balancing act. All that he replied to Yeddyurappa’s outburst was, “I consider his words as blessings, as he is a senior leader.” But being a shrewd politician, Shettar, according to sources close to him, is seeing an opportunity to emerge as the alternative to Yeddyurappa in the state BJP, if the latter leaves the party.