Bangalore: With campaigning on for the May five Assembly polls, the ruling BJP in Karnataka is pouring out much of its vitriol on former party strongman B S Yeddyurappa while holding its fire on main rival Congress. The picture, the BJP leaders are now portraying, is that of a party that has become “pure” after the exit of Yeddyurappa, who has been credited with mostly being responsible for installing the party’s first-ever government in the South but has been mired in allegations of corruption.
Not one to be browbeaten, a tempestuous Yeddyurappa has been paying in kind to the BJP, which is finding it difficult to finalise the list of candidates as it is in a dilemma over fence-sitters. A divided house the BJP may be, but its leaders are united in attacking Yeddyurappa, whose utterances are a clear indication that he treats the party of his four-decade old association as its biggest political enemy.
Yeddyurappa proved a point in the recent Urban Local Bodies elections in which his fledgling Karnataka Janatha Paksha ensured that BJP was forced to share the third slot with JDS, headed by former Prime Minister H D Devegowda. But the gritty leader often accused of autocratic nature failed to make a big mark in establishing his independent political identity, and just played spoilsport for the BJP. During public meetings, the BJP leaders have been harping on allegations of corruption during his rule that led to his being sent to jail after he was indicted by Lok Ayukta on graft charges.
On the contrary, they say, the D V Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar governments were scam-free. Newly appointed state BJP chief Prahlad Joshi has accused Yeddyurappa of courting the Congress out of inevitability to “escape from CBI” following corruption charges against him.
The BJP’s attack on Congress so far has lacked the intensity reserved for Yeddyurappa. Not to be outdone in the no-holds-barred attack, Yeddyurappa’s men have also been targeting Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa, party General Secretary H N Ananth Kumar and former Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda. They allege that Prahlad Joshi is surrounded a “coterie of the corrupt”. The charge of corruption levelled by Yeddyurappa’s loyalist Renukacharya against Sadananda Gowda led to his expulsion from the BJP followed by sacking from the cabinet. BJP has also warned of action against Yeddyurappa’s son and Lok Sabha member B Y Raghavendra for associating himself with his father while being in the party.