The Bharatiya Janata Party found itself in another controversy on Friday, as senior leader Sushma Swaraj told a magazine that Arun Jaitley, another senior leader, and Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa were responsible for the rise of the Reddys of Bellary.
Denying an oft-repeated accusation that she was close to the Reddys, mining magnates, Swaraj, the party’s leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, said, “I had nothing to do in making them ministers or building their stature as political leaders.”
She said when the Reddy brothers were made ministers, “Jaitleyji was the prabhari (in-charge), Yeddyurappa was the chief minister, Venkaiahji and Ananth Kumar were there as senior leaders”.
Jaitley could not be reached for his comment.
Swaraj said these leaders discussed the political future of the Reddys among themselves and “I was opposed to... three members of a family being made ministers. But they had some political compulsions that made them appoint the brothers.”
She said party president Rajnath Singh and Jaitley had asked her to speak to the brothers to prevent the fall of the Karnataka government when there was a crisis in 2009.
Swaraj also said there was no rift in the party, claiming that it all a “media creation” and that she had no differences with Jaitley, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and party president Nitin Gadkari.
Swaraj, however, admitted that Gadkari had “overruled” her when she thought matters should end after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had accepted that the appointment of PJ Thomas as chief vigilance commissioner was a mistake. But she added that she did not mind that as “the party president is the supreme authority”.