Yeddyurappa apologises for Dhananjaya Kumar’s remarks

Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) leader V. Dhananjaya Kumar’s allegations of corruption against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran L.K. Advani and other senior leaders on Monday snowballed into a major controversy with BJP national president Rajnath Singh daring him to come out with documents even as KJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa extended an apology to Mr. Advani on behalf of Mr. Kumar.

Mr. Kumar, while addressing presspersons in Bangalore on Monday, said that the BJP had no moral right to speak about corruption as the party had been protecting several leaders accused of serious corruption. He reiterated his earlier charges against family members of Mr. Advani and said they had been pressuring BJP Chief Ministers for favours of various kinds.

He was reacting to Mr. Advani’s speech at Ranebennur on Sunday where Mr. Advani had said the BJP does not tolerate indiscipline and corruption in the party. Mr. Kumar said the very same Mr. Advani had been protecting Ananth Kumar, MP, who is accused in the Rs. 12,000-crore HUDCO scam, which is pending before the Supreme Court.

Similarly, the former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari was also allegedly involved in serious corruption, following which he had to drop his plan for a second term in the office.

The former Karnataka BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa too is accused of amassing assets disproportionate to known sources of income, Mr. Kumar told presspersons here.

These statements drew a strong reaction from Mr. Rajnath Singh, who was campaigning in Bellary district. Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Singh dared Mr. Kumar to come out with documentary proof. “If he had documents as claimed, he should have made them public much earlier,” he said.

“This is a baseless allegation. When a similar allegation was made against Mr. Advani earlier, he had resigned as MP and vowed to return to Parliament only after he was given a clean chit. It was later proved that the allegation levelled against him was false. Such is the character of Mr. Advani,” Mr. Singh said.

Damage control

On the other hand, KJP President B.S. Yeddyurappa, who was campaigning in Hyderabad-Karnataka region, swiftly reacted to the statement to make amends. Mr. Yeddyurappa said he would apologise on behalf of Mr. Dhananjaya Kumar for his allegations.

“I have great respect for L.K. Advani. I don’t know why Mr. Dhananjaya Kumar made this statement. I will ask him for more details. But I would like to apologise for his statement,’’ he told presspersons.

He said during his tenure as Chief Minister, the daughter of Mr Advani and his relatives might have met him (Mr Yeddyurappa) for different reasons or made courtesy calls, but at none of the occasion money was paid to any of the family members of Mr Advani, “This is totally false.”

BJP petitions EC

Meanwhile, the BJP took the episode of Mr. Dhananjaya Kumar levelling allegations against Mr. Advani to the Election Commission of India by filing a complaint before it.

In the complaint, the BJP accused Mr. Kumar of violating the poll code of conduct by making a false allegation against its tallest leader to mislead the people.

It maintained that the seriousness of the allegations had the potential to affect the BJP’s poll prospects besides tarnishing Mr. Advani’s image.

The BJP sought stringent action against Mr. Kumar while maintaining that his allegations amounted to criminal defamation.

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