A two-hour BJP central leadership meeting here on Monday tried to find a solution to the party’s problems in Karnataka without having to change the Chief Minister.
It was made clear by party functionaries that efforts were on to work out a “compromise formula” to meet some of the demands of the dissident group led by the Reddy brothers — Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy and Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy — from Bellary who have been asking for the replacement of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
Emerging from the meeting, held at the residence of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani, BJP president Rajnath Singh made it clear that there would not be any change in the State leadership.
Will Mr. Yeddyurappa continue as Chief Minister? Mr. Singh replied: “Certainly, certainly” ( bilkul, bilkul). He was confident that the problem would be resolved soon and the leadership would continue to talk to all those concerned. Senior leader Arun Jaitley said: “The situation is under control.”
Highly placed BJP sources said the compromise formula would include non-interference by Rural Development Minister Shobha Karandlaje in Bellary affairs and a rollback of recent transfer of officials in and around Bellary. “The party will resolve grievances, but first the dissidents must drop their demand for the ouster of Mr. Yeddyurappa.”
Why common cause with Reddys
Party leaders here admit that the Reddy brothers are not alone in their grievance against Ms. Karandlaje, whose growing clout is believed to be the result of her being “close to” the Chief Minister. That was why a number of MLAs were ready to make common cause with the Reddys, apart from the undisputable fact of their money power.
Party spokesman Prakash Javadekar dismissed reports suggesting that senior leader H. Ananth Kumar was encouraging the Reddy brothers. “Ananth Kumar is part of the solution, not the problem,” he said.
Besides Mr. Advani and Mr. Singh, Mr. Jaitley, senior leader Sushma Swaraj and Mr. Kumar participated in Monday’s meeting.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Jaitley and Mr. Kumar held discussions with Mr. Janardhana Reddy. Mr. Reddy told journalists that he had requested the high command to provide a better leadership (in the place of Mr. Yeddyurappa) in Karnataka and that he had cent per cent hope in the top leadership.
“It will be in the interest of the party, in the interest of Karnataka to provide a very good leadership to the State,” he said.
No Congress involvement
Meanwhile, the former Union Minister and BJP leader, V. Dhananjay Kumar, denied the involvement of the Congress in the rebellion. “The Congress unit, at least in Karnataka, does not see eye to eye with the Reddy brothers,” he said.