A day after Sushma Swaraj denied any role in the Bellary brothers being made ministers in Karnataka, her party chief obliquely snubbed her, saying the decision was unanimous.
“All our cabinet ministers in Karnataka government are the unanimous choice of the party...There is absolutely no question of any individual or individuals influencing this process in any particular manner,” said Nitin Gadkari.
A day earlier, Swaraj had squarely laid the responsibility of the appointments on party colleagues Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu, Ananth Kumar and Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa. She also claimed that she had opposed three members of the same family being made ministers.
Gadkari indicated his disapproval of internal party matters being discussed in public, which is being read as a veiled disapproval of Swaraj’s now-controversial interview: “Any debate about the choice of ministers in the Karnataka government at this stage in the media is totally unnecessary.”
Former BJP president Rajnath Singh and Yeddyurappa, too, sought to push the “collective decision-making” argument earlier in the day, claiming responsibility for the Reddys becoming ministers.
“It’s true that Arun was in charge of Karnataka. I had sent him there as I was president and there were chances of a controversy during Cabinet formation,” Singh said.
Yeddyurappa simply said that choosing ministers was the prerogative of the chief minister, thus claiming responsibility for the appointments.
The Reddy brothers, who are Karnataka’s rags-to-riches mining magnates, have been accused of illegal mining and using their wealth to
manipulate state politics.
There has been a buzz that Swaraj was their political mentor, a charge she rubbished in the interview that kicked up the controversy.The Congress, which has been under consistent attack from the BJP over “corruption”, has seized this chance to trash the party.
“A civil war has begun in the BJP. This is their internal power struggle,” said spokesperson Manish Tewari.