K’taka BJP issues gag order to rein in dissent against Yediyurappa
Bengaluru The BJP in Karnataka issued an order on Monday stating that no one within the party should speak against chief minister BS Yediyurappa, party leaders said, in an effort to rein in dissent.
“No one should give statements for or against the chief minister’s statements. This is what our state president has ordered and what our central leaders have told us,” said R Ashok, Karnataka revenue minister and senior BJP leader.
The BJP has also formed a 15-member committee to check statements against the 78-year-old chief minister and seeking his ouster, which leaders said was denting the image of the party.
“No one should talk about the chief minister or his position. There are repeated statements given in the media stating that there will be a change and also projecting themselves as the chief minister. To avoid all this, this committee has been formed,” R Ashok said.
The formation of the committee comes at a time when there have been growing voices from within the BJP seeking the ouster of Yediyurappa over complaints of mishandling the Covid-19 pandemic, lack of performance of the government, corruption and allegations that his son, BY Vijayendra, was overriding ministers and running a parallel administration.
Yediyurappa had on Sunday said that he would step down as chief minister if the central leadership asked him to do so, sparking speculation of a softening of stance by the 78-year-old. The CM also said he would continue to be in office as long as the party’s high command has trust in him.
Several senior legislators, including ministers, have made trips to Delhi and mobilised support for the removal of Yediyurappa.
There has been no action against Basanagouda Patil (Yatnal), the firebrand BJP legislator from Bijapur city, who has made personal remarks against the performance of the chief minister and alleged corruption within his family.
“Basically all this discussion doesn’t arise. He is our chief minister, he is in place, and he has made a statement that I (Yediyurappa) am a disciplined soldier of the party,” said CN Ashwath Narayan, the deputy chief minister of Karnataka.
Meanwhile, MP Renukacharya, the legislator from Honalli in Davanagere and political secretary to the chief minister, said that he has mobilised signatures from 65 party MLAs in support of Yediyurappa and the same will be sent to the central leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda.
In a post on Twitter, Yediyurappa said: “In the face of the hardship of the Covid pandemic, every BJP MLA should give priority to Covid control in their constituency. No one should involve in mobilising signatures, giving political statements, and instead, I humbly request you to help those in dire need.”
Narayan said, “In a party, this kind of statements, sending these letters are not in the interest of the party.”
Another BJP legislator, identified as one among those seeking the ouster of Yediyurappa, doubted the veracity of the signature campaign.
“There has been no signature campaign against or for anybody,” Arvind Bellad, a BJP legislator said. He said that there was a signature campaign when all legislators had sought early release of funds from the rural development and panchayat raj department. Bellad said the content is normally printed on one side and on the back of the letter, there were signatures of the MLAs, indicating a possible misuse of the same.
Congress state president DK Shivakumar said there was a collapse in the administration. He said he does not want to intervene in the internal matters of the BJP.
“However, the administration has failed as ministers and MLAs are fighting among themselves. Lot of coordination problems are there,” Shivkumar said. “All I want is that the Covid-19 problem is solved.”