Even as BJP president Nitin Gadkari criticised on moral grounds Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's denotification of land and allotments to his family members, the party continued to defend the beleaguered Chief Minister. He did only what previous Chief Ministers had done — used his discretionary powers to give away land to relatives, it maintained.

Mr. Gadkari, now in Beijing, however, defended Mr. Yeddyurappa on legal grounds. If Mr. Yeddyurappa's action in using his discretionary powers vis-à-vis land allotment was wrong, then why no action was recommended against previous Chief Ministers who too had exercised the same discretionary powers, Mr. Gadkari asked.

In short, the party virtually argued that to bring criminal charges against anyone, all those against whom criminal allegations were made in the past should be prosecuted first.

In a separate statement, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said although the Supreme Court had observed that the Governor could act independently of the decision of the Council of Ministers and use his own discretion, the issue of sanction must “first be considered by the Council of Ministers,” which was not done in this case. Only after the Governor was convinced that the Council of Ministers had taken a biased decision and had not considered relevant facts would he be right in granting sanction to prosecute the Chief Minister, Mr. Jaitley argued.

The complaint of the two advocates against Mr. Yeddyurappa, on the basis of which sanction for prosecution was given, was not sent to the Council of Ministers and its views were not taken. Thus, the necessary advice of the Council of Ministers was not before the Governor. Proper procedure was not followed.

Party leaders here are also putting forth the view that since the BJP, under Mr. Yeddyurappa's leadership, performed well in recent local bodies polls, the “people endorsed” him. In short, the people's court had already declared him not guilty.

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