Senior BJP leader LK Advani’s attempt to distance himself from jailed former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa (BSY) has put a question mark on Advani’s on-going yatra in Karnataka.
State BJP leaders have asked the central leaders to cancel the October 30 rally of Advani in Bangalore. However, the ‘Jan Chetna Yatra’ would continue its journey elsewhere in the state as scheduled, on October 31.
There will also be no change in the public rally to be held on November 1 at Ankola, the last stop of the yatra in Karnataka.
But state BJP leaders are worried that Advani’s bid to distance himself from BSY will not go down well with the party’s support base among Lingayat community to which BSY belongs.
They have blamed BSY’s rival, Ananth Kumar, for Advani’s criticism of BSY. Kumar is accompanying Advani as convenor of the yatra. Though BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said Advani’s programme stood as scheduled, Karnataka leaders appeared to have cancelled arrangements for the Bangalore rally.
Advani had on October 18 virtually dumped the BJP strongman of Karnataka, saying, “We had cautioned them in advance but when the Lokayukta report came out, he (BSY) had to resign … We are fully aware of the fact that no party can effectively win the confidence of the people against the present corruption of the Congress party if its own house is bedevilled with similar weaknesses.”
Hitherto, the BJP’s line was that Yeddyurappa will fight his cases “legally” to prove his innocence. But Advani did not hide the fact he was stung by criticism of his yatra by the Congress after BSY’s arrest.
Interestingly, the RSS too is not ready to defend BSY. On Saturday, RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said, “the recent episode of BSY is an embarrassment to the RSS. Whenever BSY visited Sangh headquarters here, RSS senior functionaries advised him ... If he has not taken the advice ... it is wrong to blame the RSS.”
In Mumbai, however, to a query on BSY, Gadkari said, “I question you. What corruption has BSY done? From whom did he take money? He is fighting a legal case. One cannot compare his case with the Congress’ corruption cases...”