As the focus on the developments in the Karnataka BJP is slowly shifting here with the arrival of Home Minister V.S. Acharya and Speaker Jagadish Shettar, the party leadership has indicated that it is not averse to listening to genuine grievances, if any, of the MLAs who have revolted against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
However, so far no appointment has been sought by any State leader either with party president Rajnath Singh or senior leader L.K. Advani. A senior BJP leader said the central leadership might not like to see the Karnataka leaders if they had decided to come along with their MLA supporters in a show of strength. “I told Rajnathji that we should not meet them if they come with groups of MLAs,” Sushma Swaraj told The Hindu. She also denied that she had been asked to involve herself in resolving the problem. “I have not been asked. Reports suggesting this are wrong. Mr. Arun Jaitley and Mr. Venkaiah Naidu have been asked to try and resolve the issues.”
Although the Karnataka situation is on the boil and senior party leaders admitted that the situation was “grave” and “not easy” given the money and clout of the Reddy brothers, many party leaders seemed to be busy with other engagements. Mr. Rajnath Singh is away in Bhopal and will be back here on Sunday; Mr. Jaitley was busy with cricket; Mr. Naidu has gone to Bangalore; Ms. Swaraj was busy most of the afternoon at the HT Leadership Summit, and Mr. Advani, although here, had not met anyone.
The Reddy brothers’ camp has claimed the support of some 60 MLAs (out of the BJP’s 117), but party sources believe the strength of this dissident group is closer to 30-35. The BJP here has continued to maintain “there is no threat” to the Yeddyurappa government and the “question of replacing him does not arise.”
Mr. Yeddyurappa’s stature as a leader of the Lingayat community was the ground reality in the State. The party could ill afford to alienate a group that voted strongly for it in the last two elections.