Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary Ananth Kumar on Monday suspected that the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who quit the BJP to lead the Karnataka Janata Paksha, may have done it under pressure from the Congress in a bid to protect himself from the CBI dragnet.

“I have got a strong suspicion that Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is in the CBI dragnet, may have yielded to the blackmailing tactics from the Congress,” Mr. Kumar remarked while addressing a special meeting of the Bangalore city’s prominent party workers and elected representatives here.

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He accused the Congress of trying to fight the BJP through backdoor by blackmailing Mr. Yeddyurappa. “I pity Mr. Yeddyurappa, as he is being used to form ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams of the Congress through the KJP,” he said.

Terming Mr. Yeddyurappa stepping down as Chief Minister following his indictment in the Lokayukta’s report on illegal mining as the “result of his own mistakes,” Mr. Kumar said: “A person who became Chief Minister because of the BJP is now raising his voice against the party.”

He sought to remind Mr. Yeddyurappa that it was because of BJP top leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani as well as its 120 MLAs and lakhs of party workers that he was able to become Chief Minister.

Ridiculing Mr. Yeddyurappa, Mr. Kumar said: “The person who became Chief Minister by promising a Ram Rajya is now trying to build his new party under the patronage of the Italian Rome Raj. In fact, he took over as president of his new party on the birthday of Congress president Sonia Gandhi,” he said while trying to substantiate his allegations that Mr. Yeddyurappa was acting at the behest of the Congress.

Trying to play down the political strength of the KJP, he said only the Congress was the opponent for the BJP in the State.

He set a target of winning 25 of the 28 Assembly seats in Bangalore for the BJP as against the present tally of 18 seats.

Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok, Ministers A. Narayanaswamy and Arvind Limbavali and several MLAs were present.

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