BS Yeddyurappa added another twist to the Bellary brothers controversy on Monday, when he endorsed senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj’s claim that she had no role in their appointment as ministers in Karnataka.
This comes two days after party chief Nitin Gadkari said the appointment was “consensual” at the central and state levels. This controversy within the BJP ranks is being perceived as a prelude to the race for leading the party in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
“As the chief minister, I consulted senior leaders and then inducted them (Reddys) into the Cabinet and for that I am responsible and nobody else,” Yeddyurappa said in Bangalore. When asked if Swaraj was part of the consultations, he replied in the negative, endorsing her stand.
While Yeddyurappa, many felt, had to take the stand so as not to openly contradict Swaraj — not known to be close to him — and deepen the impasse, he ended up inadvertently going against the Gadkari line. It was widely believed that it was Gadkari and Arun Jaitley — seen by many as the target of Swaraj’s recent interview, though she stoutly denied any rift — who had backed Yeddyurappa when there were demands for his ouster over corruption.
Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Balbir Punj added another twist to the 2014 race.
The Gujarat Prabhari went on record pushing the candidature of Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial hopeful in a magazine article. Punj said Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa’s invitation to Modi to attend her swearing-in ceremony was “a recognition of his growing stature both within the BJP and outside it”.
He added, “…Modi has emerged as an icon for those seeking to free the country from family rule… Many political analysts believe a BJP led by Modi can romp home with 200-odd Lok Sabha seats. And Jayalalithaa’s small gesture has shattered the myth, assiduously built by vested interests, that a Modi-led BJP wont get the support of regional parties to cobble up a majority at the Centre…. Jayalalithaa is obviously aiming at reshaping national politics by having invited Modi...”