From Mail Today
By Aravind Gowda in Bangalore
Advani to take rath to Karnataka
AFTER taking several “ favours” from the scam- tainted former chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa, the RSS is developing cold feet over disowning him as it faces the imminent risk of getting “ exposed” by the same man.
The sudden U- turn by BJP leader L. K. Advani on taking his anti- corruption campaign to Karnataka after cancelling it has also come as a shot in the arm for the former CM. The Karnataka RSS unit and religious institutions backed by it have received unprecedented favours from Yeddyurappa during his three- year reign as the CM. It is in no position to antagonise Yeddyurappa by calling him an “ embarrassment” to the BJP. When RSS joint secretary Dattatreya Hosabale launched a scathing attack on Yeddyurappa on Saturday, leaders of the Karnataka RSS unit were quite upset. They even huddled into a meeting to defuse the crisis. A few BJP functionaries swung into damage control mode, advising the media to downplay the RSS leader’s remarks.
As far as the Karnataka RSS unit is concerned, it is still under the control of Yeddyurappa. From appointing leaders recommended by the state RSS to coveted posts of government boards and corporations, to nominating RSS functionaries to Karnataka Public Service Commission and other government committees, the former CM had given consent to every request placed before him.
The Karnataka RSS has equal representation from the Lingayat and Brahmin communities and both are rallying for Yeddyurappa owing to the benefits he bestowed upon them. The biggest among the favours bestowed upon the RSS is the deregulation of the powerful Mahabaleshwara temple in Gokarna ( coastal Karnataka), which is controlled by the Brahmins. The temple was under the ambit of the government for more than two decades. None of the previous governments entertained the local Brahmin community’s request to deregulate the temple. But Yeddyurappa acceded to their request and handed over the temple’s management to the Ramachandrapura Mutt ( run by local Brahminicals).
“ When Yeddyurappa has done so much for the RSS, how can the national leaders call him an embarrassment?” a senior RSS functionary from Karnataka asked.
The RSS, at the national level, wants to steer clear of leaders associated with corruption.
Incidentally, Dattatreya Hosabale hails from Sagar in Shimoga district, Yeddyurappa’s home constituency. If sources are to be believed, Yeddyurappa and Hosable reportedly crossed swords during the 80s and 90s when they worked at the grassroots level of the RSS. Sources also indicate that the role of Yeddyurappa’s arch rival within the party, Ananth Kumar, cannot be ruled out in the RSS’ verbal attack on the former CM. “ The political scene in the Karnataka BJP is undergoing a paradigm shift. Yeddyurappa is now a hot potato for the BJP. The national leaders want to distance Yeddyurappa from the BJP by blaming him for ignoring the senior RSS leaders’ advice. But what will be the BJP’s prospects in the absence of a leader like Yeddyurappa? The BJP has still two more years to go. But they are heading nowhere. Who will lead the party’s campaign in the next election?” political historian Dr A. Veerappa said.
The BJP appears to be unclear of its strategy on how to handle Yeddyurappa.
On Saturday, the BJP said L. K. Advani’s nationwide campaign against corruption would skip Karnataka. But Advani quickly changed his stand on Sunday, “ My scheduled yatra to Karnataka, including Bangalore is very much on”. He, however, avoided responding to queries on Yeddyurappa. “ I do not wish to say anything on Yeddyurappa,” he said. Since the arrest of Yeddyurappa, the BJP leader has cancelled two press conferences during his visit to Madhya Pradesh.
The whole process seems to have strengthened Yeddyurappa further. Yeddyurappa had time and again effectively used the “ threat card” to safeguard his seat. “ What scared the BJP in November last year was Yeddyurappa’s threat to expose the national leaders who took various kinds of favours from him after he became the CM. In fact, a few national leaders too had recommended de- notification of lands in and around Bangalore. Following this, the national leaders were divided over his exit,” an aide of the former CM said.