Yeddy gets earful from 'ignored' Sushma Swaraj
But CM finally manages to gain promise of help from BJP leader, who has influence with Reddy brothers
Rebellous ministers G Karunakara and Janardhana Reddy are not the only ones in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who feel cold-shouldered by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa since his rise to power with their help. It seems even national-level leaders, to whom Yediyurappa has now run to save his government, find him ungrateful.
Sushma Swaraj, who is deputy leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and has considerable influence with the Reddy brothers, made known her annoyance when Yediyurappa turned up at her door yesterday.
"What Yediyurappaji, how did you remember me after such a long time?" she is said to have asked. "I thought you had forgotten me after you became CM of course, because of the added responsibility."
Yediyurappa, it is learnt, was left with no option but to sport a forced smile. "It was a great embarrassment for the CM," said a BJP leader who accompanied Yediyurappa.
Though Swaraj finally did offer to help, the Reddys remained adamant, making Yediyurappa so desperate that he is said to have told the BJP higher-ups he was ready to meet any rebel demands.
Reddys don't budge
But Janardhana Reddy indicated nothing short of a leadership change would do, and he kept increasing the pressure with his actions yesterday. He is even learnt to have collected resignation letters from 41 members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), while three ministers are said to have promised to put in their papers if required.
The Reddys need to reach the figure of 67 rebel MLAs to bring about a split in the ruling party in keeping with the anti-defection law, and they seem to be confident of reaching the mark. The Yediyurappa government is supported by 117 MLAs.
Janardhana yesterday gave hints he would hand over the required number of resignations to Speaker Jagadish Shettar soon. It was a clear signal that he was in no mood to listen to the high command's call for a meeting on Friday to resolve the crisis.
The BJP high command is banking on Swaraj to resolve the Karnataka crisis.
Swaraj is considered 'thaayi' (mother) by the Reddys ever since she fought parliamentary polls from Bellary in 1999 against Congress' Sonia Gandhi.
Clutching at straws
Yesterday, Swaraj reminded Yediyurappa how he had ignored her.
"You had no time to meet me when I came to Bellary for Lakshmi pooja and now you are asking for my help," she reportedly said. "But it is BJP culture to help the needy. Don't worry, I will try my level best to resolve the crisis."
At one stage Yediyurappa is even believed to have said he would offer the deputy chief minister's post to Karunakara Reddy after removing close friend Shobha Karandlaje, besides V S Acharaya, Basavaraja Bommai and Murugesg Nirani, also in the line if fire, from the cabinet. He reportedly also agreed to make Jagadish Shettar home minister and reinstate the officers transferred out of Bellary against the Reddys' wishes.
"It was like surrendering completely," said the source. "Yediyurappa even carried the resignation letter of Shobha Karandlaje, but it did not yield results."