Embattled Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa — time and again hounded by the opposition with corruption charges — used a rally to mark the completion of 1,000 days of his government in Bangalore on Sunday to flex his political muscle, managing a mammoth crowd running into lakhs to showcase his mass base.
And the message — intended for all, the BJP national leadership, his detractors, the JD(S) and Congress — was well taken.
Speaking on the occasion, BJP national president Nitin Gadkari gave an unequivocal thumbs-up to Yeddyurappa, congratulating him for managing “a sea of BJP” at the rally to display his popular support.
“I am happy he has completed 1,000 days in office. He will also complete five years and the central BJP leadership will stand behind him in full strength,” Gadkari announced. He also obliquely rubbished the corruption charges against the CM: “Congress leaders don’t like our government here. Through the governor and other means, they are trying to destabilise it. I will just say: don’t worry, whatever happened was for the good… The Panchayat polls in Karnataka have proved to the nation that all the propaganda was false.”
He also roundly praised Yeddyurappa of running a pro-development government.
On his part, Yeddyurappa declared that he would not just complete five years in power but ensure that BJP rules Karnataka for 20 years. This apart, he avoided controversy and stuck to populism: he promised a first-ever separate agricultural budget for farmers, and announced that the government would extend loans to farmers at % interest.
Interestingly, Gadkari made no mention of his “immoral, not illegal” formulation— which he had employed in an interview with HT in December to explain the CM’s award of land to his kin, which was later reversed — that was interpreted as a gentle reminder to Yeddyurappa to correct course, and mounted a strident defence of the CM.
Also present on the dais on the occasion were Ananth Kumar, the Reddy brothers and their close associate Sriramulu — all of whom are known to be not too enamoured of the CM.