Party set to launch a tour of drought-hit areas
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party appears to have taken the sheen out of its disgruntled leader and former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s proposed tour to the drought-hit areas set to begin tentatively from August 21 by converting it into an official party tour where he has to share space along with several other leaders as one of the participants.
Days ahead of Mr. Yeddyurappa’s proposed tour, which is widely believed to be an exercise to take the party back into his control, the party itself is learnt to have decided to launch an official tour of its leaders to coincide with that of the former Chief Minister’s.
This counter move would mean that Mr. Yeddyurappa would be one of the leaders touring the State on behalf of the party along with several others rather than the tour itself being his.
The details regarding the proposed tour including the itinerary is expected to be announced on Saturday by the party’s core committee comprising top leaders.
Perhaps, realising that the party was set to take away the show from him by making an official announcement on Saturday regarding the tour, Mr. Yeddyurappa tried to steal some show by making a public announcement about his tour plans on Friday itself.
In a hurriedly convened press conference, in which none of the party senior leaders were present, Mr. Yeddyurappa announced that he would undertake a tour of the drought-hit areas from August 21. Describing it as an official party tour, he said that details would be announced on Saturday by the party core committee after Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar returned to Bangalore from Delhi. Asked about the locus standi of him, who is only an MLA undertaking a tour of all the drought-hit areas, he said: “People gave the mandate to the BJP to rule when it went to the polls under my leadership. Now it is my duty to visit them and know their problems when they are reeling under a serious drought. Though I wanted to do it much earlier, there were court restrictions on my moving out of Bangalore. I was almost under a house arrest. Since, the travel restrictions have now been lifted, I have decided to visit them.”
Indirectly suggesting that there was a possibility of misuse of drought-aid, Mr. Yeddyurappa demanded that the government constitute district-level fact-finding committees comprising experts from agricultural universities and local organisations to find out if drought relief had effectively reached the beneficiaries.
Mr. Yeddyurappa said that he would also submit a report to the Chief Minister about the factual situation with respect to drought relief measures after the tour.