The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday remained silent on the fate of its Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, while indicating that for now a decision on his resignation had been postponed in view of his “defiant” attitude.
Even as party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad continued the attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh posing questions on his “silence” and “inaction” in the face of a mountain of facts that there was a huge scandal involving the giving away of 2G spectrum, he did not answer pointed questions when the party would be able to secure the resignation of Mr. Yeddyurappa facing charges of involvement in scams. “You know the process of decision-making in the BJP,” he said, when asked how long the party would take to ask him to step down.
Mr. Prasad said following allegations of illegal iron exports, iron ore export was banned by the Karnataka government. Also the plots allotted to Mr.Yeddyurappa's kin were surrendered.
Separately, some senior BJP leaders disclosed that in the face of “defiance” shown by Mr. Yeddyurappa, the party was forced to put the entire matter of his resignation on hold. “He has built up our support base in Karnataka,” said one leader, while another pointed out that he had “solid support among Lingayats and the BJP cannot afford to lose this entire base.”
“After all, a Lingayat became Chief Minister after a gap of nearly two decades,” Mr. Prasad said, adding the last Lingayat Chief Minister was Veerendra Patil.
The BJP has also begun to calculate the damage to the party if Mr. Yeddyurappa pushed to the wall, were to decide to leave the party and set up a separate political group. “He may not be able to win more than 10 to 12 seats on his own, but he would damage the BJP immensely,” is the assessment.
As consultations with leaders from Karnataka, who were here on Friday, had been completed, some discussions would take place internally among central party leaders before deciding the next step. The party leadership hoped that the matter will die down after Mr. Yeddyurappa starts revealing, as he has promised to, the details of land-grabbing by previous Chief Ministers.
On the 2G spectrum scandal, Mr. Prasad said, the BJP would not rest till all the officials and the former Minister, A. Raja, involved in the 2-G spectrum scandal were “arrested.” The Prime Minister, he said, could have called for the telecom files and made his noting on how he wanted to deal with the issue of fresh licences and giving away of spectrum. As Prime Minister he was expected to deal with any urgent matter in any Ministry. In short, it was not enough to merely note that he wanted the sale of spectrum and licences be done in a fair and transparent manner. “Why did he not call for the files? Why did he not order the review of the entire policy?”
The BJP also responded to the Prime Minister's appeal to the Opposition parties made at a conclave here that they should allow the matter to be discussed and debated in Parliament. “We have discussed and re-discussed, debated and re-debated the subject many times over. It is now time for action,” Mr. Prasad said.