Yeddyurappa to stay: Gadkari

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

BANGALORE - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari Tuesday ruled out replacing Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who is facing charges of illegal land deals.

“There is no question of change. Yeddyurappa will continue as chief minister,” asserted Gadkari, who arrived here earlier Tuesday to assess the damage to BJP’s image from allegations against the party’s first government in south India.

The BJP chief said “the Yeddyurappa government’s performance was outstanding on several fronts”.

Gadkari said he inspected the work on the Metro, Ring Road and several flyovers and saw the functioning of a water treatment plant in Bangalore.

“I am impressed by the work and I congratulate Yeddyurappa and his colleagues,” he told reporters after meetings with the chief minister, several ministers, party leaders and legislators.

Gadkari was confident that under the leadership of Yeddyurappa and state party chief K.S. Eshwarappa, the BJP will perform exceedingly well in the district and taluq panchayat elections scheduled for Dec 26 and 31.

He said he had told the state leaders to focus on a “policy of development and policy of progress. Karnataka should become the top state in the country in development”.

Gadkari was accompanied by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who has been told to give “special attention” to Karnataka affairs.

The party’s new Karnataka general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan also attended the meetings. The BJP leaders were on a day’s visit to the state.

Gadkari’s visit came in the backdrop of Yeddyurappa battling charges of favouring his close kin, including sons and daughter, with allotment of prime land in and around Bangalore.

Gadkari’s visit, second to the state since he became the BJP chief, took place at a difficult time for the party, like his first visit.

He came to Bangalore in July to persuade Lok Ayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, to withdraw his resignation. Hegde had quit as he was upset at the way the Yeddyurappa government was handling the illegal iron ore mining issue. Hegde, son of former senior BJP vice president K.S. Hegde, later withdrew his resignation.

While Yeddyurappa has been given a breather by the BJP leadership to stay on as chief minister, he and the party’s problems seem to be getting worse in the state.

Yeddyurappa’s trusted aide Katta Subramanya Naidu quit Dec 3 as minister after state police registered a complaint against him over illegal allotment of 325 acres of land on Bangalore’s outskirts. Also named in the Dec 2 police complaint are his Bangalore corporator son Katta Jagadish Naidu and eight of their associates.

Hegde is again unhappy with Yeddyurappa as he has ordered a probe into land deals by a retired Karnataka high court judge instead of entrusting the investigation to the Lok Ayukta.

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has also expressed displeasure over the move. He told reporters here Sunday that the government had “done it deliberately to create confusion”.

Filed under: Politics

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