The BJP core group met here on Wednesday to discuss the developments in Karnataka, where the party is facing a double onslaught — from Lokayukt Santosh Hegde and Governor H.R. Bhardwaj.
Mr. Bhardwaj is on record demanding “action” against illegal mining, leaving no one in doubt that he was referring to the ministers, G. Janardhana Reddy and G. Karunakara Reddy. Earlier, Mr. Hegde, who submitted a report on illegal mining to the government, also complained that no action was being taken and threatened to resign. Only after BJP president Nitin Gadkari and senior leader L.K. Advani spoke to him, did Mr. Hedge agree to continue in his job.
After the core committee meeting, general secretary Ananth Kumar blamed the Congress for “trying to destabilise the popular government” and charged Mr. Bhardwaj with indulging in activities beyond his constitutional role. However, the Congress machinations would not succeed, he said.
The committee tried to work out a strategy to stop Mr. Bhardwaj from carrying on with his campaign against “corruption” in the Yeddyurappa government. The party plans to come up with counter-allegations of wrongdoings and corruption against Mr. Bhardwaj during his tenure as Union Law Minister.
Sources in the BJP say both Mr. Kumar and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj do not want any action taken against the Reddy brothers. However Mr. Hegde and Mr. Bhardwaj have decided to continue with the battle against illegal mining.
Adding to the BJP's problems is that there is no love lost between the Chief Minister and the Reddy brothers. In November last, they almost brought down the government. It was saved only when the BJP leadership forced Mr. Yeddyurappa to yield to the demands made by the brothers — dropping of Rural Development Minister Shobha Karandlaje; moving out the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister; reversal of transfers of officials in Bellary; and withdrawal of a tax on iron ore-laden trucks that directly impacted the mining business.