BJP factions spar over Metro credit

What was supposed to be an opportunity to showcase the better side of the otherwise embarrassed BJP government, was reduced to a melodrama with B S Yeddyurappa and Sadanada Gowda factions stripping each other naked in the public.

According to political observers, the Metro launch day was sort of 'black day' for the BJP. On the one hand, fresh graft cases were filed against two new ministers and, on the other hand, the party's internal feuds were played out loud and open on the stage.

Minister Shobha Karandlaje talks on her mobile during the inaugural
function of 'Namma Metro' at Manekshaw Parade Ground yesterday

The fissures in the party came to the fore with the B S Yeddyurappa camp venting out its ire over not giving enough credit to their leader, who is now cooling his heels in jail, during the Metro inauguration function.

The Yeddyurappa camp is understood to have objected aloud on the party forum about the former chief minister not being shown prominently on the launch posters, dotting the Metro launch venue yesterday.

As the man, who was instrumental in starting the Metro project, allegedly being sidelined, his loyalists largely stayed out of the function. Minister Shobha Karandlaje, a close confidant of Yeddyurappa, was the only member from his camp to be seen on the dais.

However, she was apparently was not so happy with her fellow party men celebrating the occasion in the absence of Yeddyurappa.

According to BJP sources, she was continuously on phone while the function was still in progress as if she were giving ball-by-ball account of event to the members of Yeddyurappa camp.

"Yeddyurappa was the one who is responsible for the progress of the Metro work, but it is sad to see that our government and the party are ungrateful to him. What if he is in the jail as an accused?
He is just an accused, not a convict. The posters could have shown him prominently to show that the government remembers his contribution. We are really upset," said a leader from the Yeddyurappa camp.

The bitterness, according to the sources, has gone to the extent of the Yeddyurappa camp thinking of splitting the party, while the opponent camp, led by L K Advani, is understood to be exploring ways and means to expel Yeddyurappa from the party.

"I think it is reaching the flash point and it looks like anything can happen now. But, I can't tell when it is going to happen as it is a matter of time," said a senior BJP leader.

Ironically, H N Ananth Kumar, MP from Bangalore (South) and the main detractor of Yeddyurappa, was the first to mention the former chief minister's name in the function. He lauded the tainted BJP leader for his contributions to the Metro project.

While the hackles were raised at his unexpected gesture, he credited himself for the project saying "it was my dream to bring Metro to Bangalore".

He went on to add that it was he and then prime minister A B Vajapayee conceptualised the Metro.
Minister for home and transport R Ashoka who has been named in a fresh graft case took a dig at Chief Minister D V Saananda Gowda, who presided over the function, by saying, "He is fortunate enough to have an opportunity to organise the Metro launch as a CM."

Minutes after Ashoka made the scathing remarks against the CM, the Lokayukta special court order to file an FIR against him in a land scam came as bolt from the blue. However, Sadananda Gowda, famous for his trademark grin, managed to maintain a glum-look.

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