The former Chief Minister and Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) president B.S. Yeddyurappa, on the second day on Tuesday of his indefinite dharna inside the Legislative Assembly here demanding extension of Shaadi Bhagya scheme to all, expressed the desire to lead the sugarcane farmers’ struggle being staged in front of the Suvarna Soudha.
“I am eager to go out of the Assembly Hall and join the farmers who are protesting against the government. But I cannot go there till the government yields to my demand or till I am evicted from the House,” Mr. Yeddyurappa told presspersons before the commencement of the session.
Willing to yield
He said that he had told senior Ministers H.K. Patil and T.B. Jayachandra, who called on him urging him to end his protest, that he was willing to withdraw the dharna if Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced the extension of the scheme, albeit by earmarking a token amount.
Mr. Yeddyurappa held Mr. Siddaramaiah responsible for the stalemate over the issue and said the Chief Minister was sticking to false prestige.
“The Chief Minister could have sent a representative to speak to me or called me over telephone when I was staging dharna in Bangalore. But he tried to ignore me,” he said.
Stating that the Shaadi Bhagya scheme will in its present form not help even minorities as it had a meagre budget allocation, he demanded that the government take concrete steps for the welfare of minorities instead of showing only lip sympathy.
He accused the Chief Minister of neglecting farmers’ problems. “He has been insensitive to the concerns expressed by sugarcane farmers who are staging a protest here. Ideally, he should have come to Belgaum a day before the commencement of the session and sorted out these issues,” Mr. Yeddyurappa said.
Other political options
Mr. Yeddyurappa said that he would have made it a point to attend the recent rally addressed by Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Bangalore if he had been invited. “I would have definitely attended the Modi rally if there were to be an invitation. Of course, I would not have made any speech there. But I would have preferred to attend the rally, especially in view of our letter offering support to the National Democratic Alliance,” Mr. Yeddyurappa said.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the NDA not responding to his offer, he hinted that he may explore other political options of joining the third front depending on the situation.