BJP keeps Karnataka options open ahead of Lokayukta report


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is keeping its options open on Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who might be strongly indicted in the ombudsman’s report on illegal mining in the state to be submitted Wednesday, sources said.

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Though the party has refrained from reacting to reports about Lokayukta N. Santosh Reddy indicting Yeddyurappa, it has not ruled out the possibility of Yeddyurappa being asked to go.

Party president Nitin Gadkari said Monday that Yeddyurappa, the BJP’s first chief minister in the south, has assured him that he would abide by the party leadership’s decision after the Lokayukta submits his report to the state government.

Party sources said the leadership would look at the report for the nature and seriousness of any charges against the chief minister in the report.

“The party is never shy of taking action if it comes to that. But it also does not mean that the guillotine is ready,” a party leader told IANS.

Party sources said the leadership had also begun to look at the options to replace Yedyurappa in case of his strong indictment.

The sources said that while deliberating the Lokayukta report and Yeddyurappa’s continuance, the leadership will also factor in its campaign against Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on the issue of corruption.

They said that the party would consider the perception that Yeddyurappa’s continuance would dent its high-decibel anti-corruption campaign and allow the Congress to hit back.

With former communications minister A. Raja dragging in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram on the issue of 2G spectrum scam in his testimony before the CBI court, the BJP is likely to target the two leaders in the monsoon session of parliament beginning Aug 1.

A BJP leader said sections of the media had been unfairly comparing “corruption of UPA government and alleged misdemeanour of the Karnakaka chief minister”, but added that the party cannot wish away the perception against Yeddyurappa continuing in office.

Yeddyurappa, on his part, has dug in his heels despite reports that the Lokayukta report has indicted him, and said he would continue to be chief minister till the term of the present assembly is over. He is likely to come to Delhi to meet the party leadership after the Lokayukta submits its report to the state government.

The names doing the rounds in party circles as possible successors to Yeddyurappa include party general secretary Ananth Kumar and state ministers Jagdish Shettar, Suresh Kumar and V.S. Acharya.