After skipping poll campaign in Himachal Pradesh, BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday cancelled his meeting in New Delhi with Karnataka leaders and asked the party leadership to handle the political situation in the state where B S Yeddyurappa is adamant on forming his own party.
A statement issued by the BJP on Tuesday said Mr. Gadkari has authorised Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Dharmendra Pradhan to meet the state leaders from the southern state to discuss the challenge posed by dissident leader B S Yeddyurappa.
Mr. Gadkari had called Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and BJP state unit chief K S Eshwarappa to the capital to discuss and review the political situation in the state.
Despite several overtures to Mr. Yeddyurappa, the former Karnataka Chief Minister is adamant on forming his own political party on December 10. He had earlier refused to meet Mr. Jaitley when the senior BJP leader visited Bengaluru to placate him. Mr. Yeddyurappa has openly stated that he has lost faith in the central leadership.
Soon after Mr. Gadkari faced charges of dubious funding of his company, Mr. Yeddyurappa had told reporters that the BJP chief should introspect. Mr. Gadkari had asked Mr. Yeddyurappa to step down from the chief minister’s post when he was indicted by the Karnataka Lokayukta in a graft case.
The BJP statement issued on Tuesday said Mr. Gadkari is not meeting the Karnataka leaders as “he is busy in consultation with legal experts in Nagpur and Mumbai”. Last night he had cancelled his trip to Himachal Pradesh which was scheduled for today. The same reason was cited by sources close to him.
Mr. Gadkari has threatened to file defamation suits against English daily and two news channels for their reports on the dubious funding.
Though the RSS continues to back Mr. Gadkari and is adopting a “wait and watch” attitude, his position was dented further today with the Income Tax department issuing notices to the alleged shell companies which had reportedly invested in the Purti Group.