Karnataka’s BJP chief minister busy defending dynasty politics!

By V.S. Karnic, IANS,

Bangalore : As the Lok Sabha polls close in, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first chief minister in Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa, seems to have a new task in hand – defending dynasty politics.

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His eldest son, B.Y. Raghavendra, is the BJP candidate from Shimoga, over 250 km from Bangalore, which is considered to be stronghold of former chief minister S. Bangarappa, who has just returned to the Congress after spending a few years with the BJP and Samajwadi Party.

Yeddyurappa is having a tough time defending the nomination for his son. And for that he has himself to blame as till the last moment he maintained that no one in the BJP should even mention his son’s name, let alone propose him, as a candidate.

“I do not want to give the wrong impression to people that I am promoting my family members,” was Yeddyurappa’s oft-repeated reply to reporters in the last one month whenever they asked him whether Raghavendra, a 35-year-old science graduate, would be fielded from Shimoga.

Since March 6, a day after the BJP central leadership cleared Raghavendra’s name, Yeddyurappa’s argument is: “I never opposed dynastic politics as long as family members come up on their own.”

His new line is music to the ears of Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and his two sons – H.D. Revanna and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

The JD-S has often been ridiculed in Karnataka as ‘thande-makkala paksha’ (meaning father and sons party) by the BJP, Congress, political commentators and also by the common man.

Yeddyurappa now says he never ever called JD-S ‘thande-makkala paksha’. “They (Revanna, Kumaraswamy and recently Kumaraswamy’s wife Anita) have all been elected by people (to the state assembly).”

While Revanna and Kumaraswamy have been legislators for the last several years, Anita Kumaraswamy was elected to the assembly in the polls held in December last year.

“At least now Yeddyurappa has realised that the JD-S is not a ‘thande-makkala paksha’. He had taken a vow in the name of god that his son would not be fielded in these Lok Sabha polls. Now you know how much belief he has in god,” Kumaraswamy said sarcastically, responding to Raghavendra’s candidature.

He claimed that the head of a religious institution or ‘mutt’ had telephoned BJP central leaders, asking them to nominate Yeddyurappa’s son. Yeddyurappa has not reacted to such claims, which were reported in a section of the media here earlier.

Yeddyurappa’s son is now a municipal councillor in Shikaripua in Shimoga. Yeddyurappa represents the Shikaripura assembly constituency.

Besides Raghavendra, the BJP has also given tickets to the relatives of three ministers in the state. Shivakumar Udasi, the son of Public Works Department (PWD) Minister C.M. Udasi; Ramesh Katti, younger brother of Horticulture Minister Umesh Katti; and J. Shanti, younger sister of Health and Family Welfare Minister B. Sriramulu have been nominated.

(V.S. Karnic can be contacted at [email protected])