In a first-ever, Governor addresses meet-the-press programme
Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has revealed that he had “secretly” advised the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to drop the Bellary Reddy brothers accused of illegal mining from his Cabinet as they were “harassing” him (Mr. Yeddyurappa).
“Though Mr. Yeddyurappa promised to drop them, he not only backtracked but also ‘fell in line with them’. It pained me a lot,” the Governor told a meet-the-press programme, a first-ever by a Governor in the State, organised by the Press Club of Bangalore and the Bangalore Reporters’ Guild here.
“Mr. Yeddyurappa was also my good friend earlier. I will tell you a secret… soon after coming to Karnataka, I told him that he is a hard worker and that I will support him completely. Some time later, he had gone to Delhi to complain to the BJP high command against the Reddy brothers as they were ‘harassing’ him. At that time I was at the Karnataka Bhavan there. I called him and advised him to sack the Reddy brothers,” Mr. Bhardwaj revealed, while hinting that the issue of failure to act against the Reddy brothers had become a bone of contention between him and Mr. Yeddyurappa. He said that as Mr. Yeddyurappa had failed to take action against the Reddy brothers, he himself had taken up the responsibility of commencing the process of bringing about accountability by issuing notices to the Reddy brothers on the grounds that they had violated the norms related to office of profit. This ruffled the Reddy brothers as they started attacking me. This really pained me. But it would have been cowardice if I had kept quiet.
“I started my work to send a message to them that they were being watched. People throwing stones at the Raj Bhavan should know that it has tremendous power vested in it,” he said.
“Now (after the episode involving the Reddy brothers), Mr. Yeddyurappa is a very good friend of mine. We have attended each others’ functions. I recently told him that he is an elderly person and that it would be better for him to promote his sons,” he said.
The Governor whose recommendation, on two occasions, to impose President’s Rule was rejected by the Union government, disclosed that even the Centre had not supported him when he took on the BJP government led by Mr. Yeddyurappa. “I had to backtrack as there was a possibility of the Centre recalling my services as it was not in favour of imposing President’s Rule,” he said.
Stating that he would soon come out with a book on why he recommended President’s Rule in the State, he said that he had to resort to it as the then Speaker had disqualified 17 defecting MLAs instead of holding a floor test as per the norms. He said that he does not sport any party colours. At the same time, he remarked that: “If men are capable of committing errors, I am not an exception.”
On the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government’s performance in the first 100 days, the Governor said: “I have detected nothing wrong in his administration. He is a self-made man and I wish him very well.” Hailing the welfare measures taken up by him for the poor, he said people would judge the Chief Minister’s work.
He rated Karnataka as the “Number 1 State” in terms of communal harmony. He recalled the role played by media in the freedom struggle. Highlighting the importance of media in protecting democracy, he said that an enlightened Bar and media would strengthen courts.