BJP’s Karnataka crisis resolved, Sushma plays peacemaker (Lead)

November 8th, 2009 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS) The fortnight-long crisis plaguing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka was resolved Sunday with senior party leader Sushma Swaraj succeeding in bringing together Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his arch rival state Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy.
The feverish attempts of the BJP central leadership to strike a compromise among the two warring camps bore fruit as Sushma Swaraj, after meeting the rivals, announced here: “I am very happy to tell you that the issue has been resolved amicably…. Some misunderstandings had cropped up between them, and they were resolved after a few meetings.”

“Both of them (Yeddyurappa and Reddy) have decided to work like brothers to serve people of Karnataka.”

And to emphasise that their lingering row was over, Yeddyurappa and Reddy held hands and smiled for the cameras at Sushma Swaraj’s residence here.

“The issue has been resolved. We are together now. This problem will not arise again,” a visibly elated Yeddyurappa told reporters.

Janardhana Reddy, who till Saturday evening was insisting on Yeddyurappa’s ouster, added smilingly: “We have taken the decision in the interest of the state and betterment of the people. We will work together.”

Sushma Swaraj said, “We have asked them (Yeddyurappa and Reddy) to go together and serve the people of Karnataka.”

The peace, brokered by the party’s top brass - L.K. Advani, party chief Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar, comes a day after Yeddyurappa, unable to conceal his helplessness, shed tears durin interview to a TV channel.

The Reddy brothers, Janardhana and his elder brother, Revenue Minister Karunakara Reddy, are mining magnates from the iron-ore rich Bellary district. They had stuck to their demand for Yeddyurappa’s ouster despite the central party leadership backing the chief minister. Under pressure from the dissidents, Yeddyurappa was forced to drop a few of his “trusted people” as part of the compromise formula.

His trusted people included senior Indian Administrative Service officer V.P. Baligar, who was his principal secretary and whose removal the dissidents were demanding. Baligar has been shunted out as secretary in the industries and commerce department.

Yeddyurappa has also agreed to drop his confidante and the lone woman minister in the cabinet, Shobha Karnadlaje, who holds the rural development and panchayat raj portfolio.

The dissidents have accused her of interfering in the functioning of other ministries and behaving like a second chief minister. She has consistently denied the charges.

The BJP government in Karnataka is the party’s first in the state and in south India.

Yeddyurappa and Reddy are expected to go to Advani’s house Sunday to greet him on his 82nd birthday.

“Both of them will go to Advani-ji to seek his blessings. It is a coincidence that it is Advaniji’s birthday today (Sunday). I don’t think we could have given him a more befitting present,” she said.

The Reddy brothers, who claim the support of over 70 of the 117 party legislators in the 225-member state assembly, are believed to be close to Sushma Swaraj.

In the May 2008 polls, the BJP won 110 of the 224 elected seats in the 225-member assembly. It formed the government with the help of six Independents, five of whom have been rewarded with ministerial posts. The Reddys are believed to have won over the Independents using their financial clout.

Later, the Reddys also lured more than half a dozen Congress and Janata Dal-Secular legislators to the BJP, giving the party its majority in the assembly and reducing the government’s dependence on the Independents.

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