KARNATAKA

Party leaders betrayed me, says Yediyurappa

Special Correspondent

SHIMOGA: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly B.S. Yediyurappa admitted what he called his "folly" before party workers here on Thursday in having raised a storm in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) circles by claiming that the BJP was ready to form a Government with the help of the Janata Dal (Secular).

"It is very sad that my own party leaders betrayed me," he said without identifying anyone. He was speaking at his party office after laying the foundation of an extension. He said that he was able to retrace his steps because of the intervention of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Terming it a "bitter event" in his political career, he said it had been corrected by the RSS. "I have grown with the RSS by following its advice. I shall remain in the BJP till the end," he announced.

He said he had kept himself aloof from public affairs in his home district of Shimoga for several reasons. He would hereafter concentrate on development activities in the district. "I cannot afford to neglect the interests of my own district," he said.

Explaining what had upset him about the state of affairs in the party, Mr. Yediyurappa said he noticed that newcomers were being encouraged while senior leaders were sidelined. It was his growing differences with some other party leaders that led him to make what he called a hasty decision. "However, it has been resolved with the intervention of the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and BJP president L.K. Advani. I have forgotten all what happened. I rededicate myself for the sake of the party," he said.

Mr. Yediyurappa asked party workers to be prepared for midterm elections to the Assembly, which are likely to take place any time in view of the political uncertainty caused by growing differences among leaders of the partners in the coalition Government. He will soon undertake a Statewide tour to organise the party, he said.

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council D.H. Shankaramurthy; K.S. Eshwarappa, Shimoga MLA; BJP district unit president M.B. Bhanu Prakash; and the former MLC Shantaveerappa Gowda were present.

Later Mr. Yediyurappa performed pujas at the Anjanapur Reservoir and the Ambligola Reservoir in his native taluk of Shikaripur.

Speaking on the occasion, he said that the fact that all the dams and reservoirs have reached their full levels will bring relief to the State, which faced drought for the past four years.

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