Even as Karnataka lokayukta Santosh Hegde readies to submit his report ‘nailing’ the state on illegal mining, there is palpable concern within the BJP over its contents.
While the party is adopting a wait-and-watch approach for the moment, supporters of chief minister BS Yeddyurappa seem jittery that if the contents are as damning as media leaks suggest, the party may have to keenly consider the political fallout.
The BJP refused to open its cards till the report is out while emphasing that the Congress governments had also trashed such reports. The Congress on its part was quick to attack.
“The Karnataka government and top BJP leadership is involved in the illegal mining,” party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said, adding that the chief minister Yeddyurappa should immediately resign.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who had defended the chief minister through crises, returns from his London trip on Friday. Chief minister Yeddyurappa too is expected to return from Mauritius on Monday.
The report — which is believed to have indicted the CM and mining barons Reddy brothers — has come at a time when the BJP is gearing up for Parliament’s monsoon session where it plans to corner the Centre on corruption.
In such circumstances, continuing with the CM despite an indictment by the lokayukta — who is also a member of the joint panel on the lokpal — will damage the party’s bid to look credible on the anti-graft bill.
However, taking action against the CM and others reportedly indicted may entail electoral hazards for the BJP as Yeddyurappa is considered the tallest Lingayat leader and a strong crowd-puller.
On Thursday, party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the BJP would comment on the report only after it was out. He, however, hastened to add: “The Delhi lokayukta report indicted Delhi minister Rajkumar Chauhan, but the Congress threw the report in dustbin. The Shunglu report indicting Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit was also shelved.”
Former party president Rajnath Singh, however, said: “Let the Lokayukta report come. We will take the kind of action the nation expects from us in keeping with the demands of justice.”
The one silver lining in the clouds for the saffron party is that the report also mentions Yeddyurappa’s bete noire HD Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Anil Lad.