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‘I did not succumb to blackmail’

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Greetings: Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and other State BJP leaders with the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi on Friday.
Greetings: Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and other State BJP leaders with the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi on Friday.

Special Correspondent

Yeddyurappa says inducting Renukacharya was a collective decision

NEW DELHI: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has denied that he had succumbed to the Reddy brothers’ blackmail by inducting Honnali MLA M.P. Renukacharya, who belonged to the dissident camp, as Excise Minister.

“It was not blackmail. Consultations and discussion were held at different levels with various leaders. It was a collective decision to take him,” he told presspersons here on Friday. When reminded that Mr. Renukacharya was involved in various controversies and what message he was trying to send by inducting him into the Cabinet, Mr. Yeddyurappa shot back: “In politics we have to take certain decisions. Some times we may or may not like it.”

The party MLAs had wanted his (Mr. Renukacharya’s) induction, he said.

Mr. Yeddyurappa was here to greet the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the occasion of his 85th birthday; and the new Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari. This was his first visit since last month after successfully retaining his chief ministership following a strong dissident activity indulged in by the Reddy brothers — Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy and Tourism Minister G. Janardhan Reddy. To a question the Chief Minister said the lone vacancy in the Cabinet had been filled up with Mr. Renukacharya and there would be no further reshuffle till the completion of two years of office by his government. After that seniors would be given various responsibilities.

Mr. Yeddyurappa was confident of completing his full term and was facing no problems (from Reddy brothers) and all the Ministers were cooperating with him in running the administration smoothly. Personally his relationship with the Reddy brothers was good and it never turned bad.

On Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu’s allegations that the Reddy brothers were indulging in illegal mining activities, Mr. Yeddyurappa said there was “no truth in it. I don’t know about other State (Andhra Pradesh). As far as Karnataka is concerned, there is no truth in the charge.”

He said the coordination committee (as per Reddy brothers demand to withdraw their anti-Yeddyurappa stand) had already been set up in the State and it had held two meetings. About the flood relief works, he said he had urged the Centre to release Rs. 7,048 crore under the National Calamity Contingency Fund and also the remaining Rs. 500 crore of the Rs. 1,000 crore promised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to Karnataka immediately. So far the State Government had released Rs. 1,878 crore from its funds towards relief and reconstruction activities and of this Rs. 1,732 crore had been spent, he said.

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