November 24, 2010
New Delhi: In the midst of the results for the Bihar elections, where the BJP delivered a teflon-strong performance, the party announced that it will not sack its chief minister in Karnataka, BS Yeddyurappa.
"Yeddyurappa has responded publicly and to party leaders. He has also written to me giving his view point. After consultation with senior colleagues and state leaders, party has decided he will continue as CM. With panchayat and zila parishad elections around the corner, party appeals to workers to strive for the success of the party," said party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar. (Watch)
He said the BJP will also conduct its own inquiry into the allegations against Yeddyurappa.
The chief minister has accused - mainly by the Opposition in his state - of misusing his public office to allot government land at below-market rates to his family members. Last week, he said that land would be returned to the government. He has also set up a commission - a retired High Court judge - to investigate all recent allotments of government land.
Yeddyurappa has presented a conundrum for the BJP over the last few days. The party is worried that the perception of a corrupt leader will impact its assault in Delhi against the UPA government. The BJP has taken on the Centre for a trio of scams - the Adarsh Society scam where politicians and bureaucrats cornered flats in a Bombay building meant for war widows and veterans, the apparently-pathological corruption among those who organized the Commonwealth Games, and the 2G scam which led to the resignation of A Raja as Telecom Minister.
Allowing Yeddyurappa to continue in office could make the BJP seem somewhat two-faced in that campaign in Delhi.
However, several of the party's MPs have expressed their strong support for Yeddyurappa- and so dropping him could provoke a serious crisis. Unwilling to risk a split in the party and its government, the BJP also has taken into account that any change in leadership would signal victory to the dissidents within the party in Karnataka. Yeddyurappa has long said that its factions within the BJP that are helping the opposition to campaign for his removal.
There's also the fact that Yeddyurappa is a Lingayat leader- a voter base that played a key role in bringing the BJP to power in Karnataka.