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BJP tides over Karnataka crisis

india Updated: Nov 09, 2009 01:41 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
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The crisis facing the 18-month-old BJP government in southern state of Karnataka has blown over.

The Reddy brothers, who have been leading the rebel charge, on Sunday were nudged by senior party leader Sushma Swaraj to accept the peace deal brokered by the party's central leadership.

While Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had agreed to the compromise formula, the Reddys, both of who are cabinet ministers, had been reluctant to accept it.

On Sunday, the CM and Tourism Minster G. Janardhan Reddy appeared together in public, signalling the brothers had come around.

The state will soon see a Cabinet reshuffle, curtailing the CM’s role and that of his loyalists.

Swaraj, who used her influence on the mining barons of Bellary to save the BJP's first government in a southern state, called the truce a birthday gift to party leader L.K Advani, who turned 82 on Sunday.

Acknowledging Swaraj's role, Reddy said, "We have accepted whatever she decided for us. She has been guiding us on all family matters as our mother. We will work together (with the CM) on madam's guidance."

A mellowed Yeddyurappa, whose image of a strong CM has taken a knock, said, "We will go back to relief work... All problems between us have been resolved."

Claiming the support of 50 party MLAs, the Reddy brothers had been pushing for a leadership change. But, with the party brass making it clear that Yeddyurappa wouldn't be removed and they would have to accept the compromise formula, the Reddys fell in line.

The two sides also realised that the situation was heading nowhere and any wrong move by either sides would have meant fresh elections - a prospect most MLAs dreaded, said sources.

The problem started with Yeddyurappa leaving the Reddys out of the relief work in the flood-ravaged north and instead deploying Rural Development Minister Shobha Karandlaje to oversee the effort.

Reddys, who have mining interests in Bellary district, were also upset with the CM for imposing tax on trucks carrying ore to fund relief work.