Sadanand Gowda and the road ahead

It was the name that was playing out in the media since B S Yeddyurappa was asked to put in his papers following the Lokayukta report on illegal mining. Sadananda Gowda who is seen as Yeddyurappa’s candidate was chosen to be the next Chief Minister of Karnataka.

He comes in at a time when the state is reeling under a crisis. Political observers say that he has a tough job ahead and most important of them all would be to keep the party intact in the wake of this clear split that was witnessed since the past few days.

The two time legislator and two time member of parliament will have to first emerge out of Yeddyurappa’s shadow and work for the state. He will constantly analysed and he will have to negate all talks that he is holding the chair only until Yeddyurappa is able to make a come back. While these are internal matters for Gowda, the biggest issue is that he will have to deal with the pressure on acting on the Lokayukta report and that probably is the biggest job ahead for him.

Within the BJP, he has a mixed image. His camp says he is humble, approachable and is capable of doing good work. However his rivals call him a rubber stamp with no experience and even go up to the extent of saying that he is incapable of working for more than six hours a day.

Born to DV Gowda and Kamala at Devaragunda in Dakshina Kannada district, he is a science and law graduate. He is married to Dotty Sadananda who hails from Coorg and has one son.

While there are more negatives that emerge people say that he should be given a chance to prove himself. Many even question his capabilities as an advocate but also go on to add that his primary interest has always been politics. He is not hot headed like Yeddyurappa and is capable of keeping his party colleagues in good spirits and also the flock together. The BJP says that they need someone for now who will not antagonise the rest of the flock since the primary goal at the moment is to ensure that the party remains united. However Gowda who is an ardent lover of folk music, badminton, tennis and Kho Kho apart from the famous Yakshagana will have to rise from the image of a rubber stamp Chief Minister and work independently alongside a possible deputy who most likely will be Jagadish Shettar.

Today Gowda in a brief media interaction said that he wants to work hard for the public and will carry on the good work done by his predecessor. Gowda however says that he is aware that the road ahead is tough, but also adds that he has the support of his entire party who will help him perform.

Shettar for Dy CM?

Photo courtesy: Dainik Bhaskar

While one headache for the BJP is over today with the appointment of a new Chief Minister in Sadananda Gowda, the other headache that remains is to keep the rival faction happy. Although there is a happy image that has been painted after the selection of Sadananda Gowda, the rival faction continues to sulk.

To maintain a balance in the party, the senior leadership has said that it would offer the post of Deputy Chief Minister to Jagadish Shettar who lost by a small margin in the secret ballot that was held in Bangalore today. Although there is no official announcement on the same, there are talks on to make Shettar the Deputy Chief Minister. The BJP feels that Shettar who is a senior leader and has worked for the party deserves a high posting to this effect.

The Yeddyurappa camp has however shown no objection to the appointment of Shettar as the Deputy CM. Earlier when the leaders from New Delhi went in for the meeting they had said that Gowda would be made the CM and Shettar the Dy CM. However the Shettar faction backed by Ananth Kumar had opposed this and said that it would be better if they went in for a vote. However when Shettar lost, there were signs of cracks, but the party was quick to enter into a damage control exercise.

After the votes were polled, Yeddyurappa went on to stage and proposed the name of Gowda. Immediately Shettar and Eshwarappa seconded Gowda’s name for the post and said that they would all work together.

Sources say that Shettar may take up the post since he is also under pressure from his supporters to have a bigger say in the affairs of the government. Moreover the party also feels that there would be a check and balance in the manner of administration if Shettar is given the post. In addition to this, the Lingayat community which contributes largely to the vote bank of the BJP will also be happy if Shettar is given a top post.

As it develops in Karnataka

Yeddy man Sadanand Gowda makes it to CM's post. Photo courtesy: http://www.daijiworld.com

9.50 PM- D Sadananda Gowda will be sworn in as Chief Minister of Karnataka tomorow at 4.30 PM, according to a communication from the Raj Bhavan. The communication adds that Gowda will be sworn in at Raj Bhavan at 4.30 PM.
The communication also states that Sadananda Gowda had met the governor after being selected as the new leader. The Governor has accepted the candidature and invited him to be sworn in as the Chief Minister.
Tomorrow only Gowda will be sworn in and the appointment of a Deputy Chief Minister as is being discussed in the BJP circles will take place in another day or two. The candidate most likely to make it as the Deputy Chief Minister is Jagadish Shettar who lost a secret ballot to Gowda today.

04.04 pm

Sadananda Gowda press conference-
I thank all my supporters and also the leaders in my party.
I have been elected as the leader. My resolve to continue the good work of the BJP. My policies will be pro friendly.
I will take everyone into confidence and do my work. I will start my work immediately.

Sadananda Gowda will be accompanied by state BJP Chief Eshwarappa to the Raj Bhavan.

04.02 pm

First press conference by Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda in the next five minutes. He is accompanied by K S Eshwarappa and Shobha Karandlage, Suresh Kumar and Chandre Gowda.

03.39

All is well that ends well in the BJP. The voting was first conducted and then the leaders broke for lunch.
B S Yeddyurappa then took to the stage and proposed the name of Sadananda Gowdam by that time it was clear that Gowda was emerging as the favorite. Shettar and Eshwarappa joined him on stage and seconded the name of Gowda while promising that they would all work together in future.

03.36

Law minister Suresh Kumar says the process was smooth. We welcome the new leader and he will be going to the Raj Bhavan in sometime to inform the Governor about the same.

03.29 pm

There is absolute chaos on the streets as all BJP MLAs start coming out of Hotel Capitol. The reactions are mixed and the members of the Ananth Kumar faction look clearly upset. Sadanand Gowda still remains inside the hotel as the streets swell with his supporters waiting for him.

03.14 pm

Sullya based Sadananda Gowda is the next Chief Minister of Karnataka. Backed completely by former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Sadananda Gowda beat his nearest rival Jagadish Shettar.
The official announcement will be made in a while. However there is a balancing act on inside Capitol where the Ananth Kumar faction is being pacified. They have been promised the post of Deputy CM.

03.08 pm
Sadananda Gowda supporters have taken to the streets in Celebration with news of him emerging victorious. He is said to have beaten Jagadish Shettar by 9 votes in the secret ballot just held at Hotel Capitol in Bangalore.

03.06 pm

62 for Sadananda Gowda and 55 for Shettar. No official word as yet but Gowda supporters already celebrating.
The Speaker K G Bopaiah did not take part in this vote. Suresh Kumar, law minister and two others did not vote

03.05 pm

The counting process has been completeted and it is just a matter of time vefore an official announcement is made. Unconfimed reports say that Sadananda Gowda has won the ballot.

2.32 pm

Lunch time for the Karnataka BJP. The voting has just concluded and the votes will be counted after lunch.
This entire process is expected to take another hour and a half. The BJP will announce the results to the legislators before breifing the media on the final verdict.

02:02 pm

With the secret ballot underway around 70 MLAs so far have cast their vote. The fight is between Jagadish Shettar and Sadananda Gowda. There around in all 120 MLAs in the hall.
In a while from now the votes will be counted and the annouuncement made.

01.44 pm

When the national leaders landed in Bangalore, it was decided that Sadananda Gowda would be the CM and Shettar the Dy CM. However the Shettar camp has opposed this completely which has forced the BJP to adopt to a secret ballot. Sources now say that the process of a secret ballot has already commenced although the BJP will never officially announce this since in the open. The BJP legislators have been told not to be open about this process since it would send out a wrong signal to the people.

01:05 pm

Latest from inside Hotel Capitol. The scene is not too cordial. Leaders are aggressive about pushing the candidate and the pleas by the senior leaders have fallen on deaf years. Yeddy’s camp with 71 MLA’s now is pushing for a secret ballot. Jaitley and Rajnath appear emotional as they say that the party should not break and a secret ballot be avoided at any cost.

12:53 pm

No differences as yet in tha party with a difference. Rajnath Singh has just addressed the legislators and told them the need to stay united. He says that it is important for the party to have a consensus candidate in the larger interest of the party.

12:23 pm

The process to elect a new CM for Karnataka has commenced. All MLCs and other party workers have been kept outside the meeting hall. Only the 121 MLAs are allowed to take part. Senior leaders pushing for a consensus candidate. Yeddys team claims it has 68 MLAs.

11:59 am

Rajnath Singh has just arrived at the hotel Capitol. Jaitley too has arrived and just walked into the hotel. Appears to be a close fight although the bus math is something people are speaking about. Efforts on to avoid a ballot, but every indication that the leader would be chosen that way.

11:52 am

The moment that everyone has been waiting for. Yeddys camp arrives finally. Who has the numbers? Yeddys camp have come in four buses whereas Ananth Kumar faction arrived in two buses. the slug fest is about to begin as supporters chant long live sadananda gowda.

11:43 am

Two Volvo’s land at Capitol with the BJP MLAs as the process to elect the new CM is about to begin. The Yeddyurappa camp is yet to arrive. The Ananth Kumar camp has just arrived and are heading towards the hotel now. The meeting will commence once the other camp which is till involved in negotiations arrives.

11.34 am

K S Eshwarappa, state BJP president says that the party may resort to a secret ballot to elect the next CM. It is clear that there is no consensus as yet. Shettar meanwhile has sadi that he hopeful which has made the Yeddyurappa camp return to their hotel rooms to hold discussions with the senior leaders.

11.27 am

New names being thrown into the CM’s race. Party bosses want a consensus and no split in the party. Suresh Kumar and K S Eshwarappa could be consensus candidates since they are acceptable to both parties. However party sources say that this would be a last ditch attempt and both sides still pushing for Shettar and Sadandanda Gowda.

11.22 am

All possibilities that a canandidate would be choisen on the basis of a secret ballot. There is no consensus as of yet and the battle still is between Shettar and Gowda.

11.15 am

Chaos outside of Hotel Capitol, Bangalore where a decision on the next CM of Karnataka will be taken. Some confusion still porevails with Yeddyurappa faction trying to make a last pitch for Sadanand Gowda. They are meeting with Rajnath Singh now and will arrive at Capitol in a while.

08:21 am

It is just a matter of time before Karnataka has a new Chief Minister. A meeting of the BJP legislators meeting has now been fixed for 11 AM in Bangalore.
The leaders from New Delhi, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh were involved in deliberations all through the night to bring about a consensus between the B S Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar who are claiming the support of 60 MLAs each.
BJP sources say that the meeting at 11 AM today will bring about a clarity to the issue and there is expected to be a consensus.
Jagadish Shettar however appeared to look confident that he would be elected the next CM of the state. Sadananda Gowda is meeting with Yeddyurappa after which he will meet with the senior leaders. The BJP however is trying its best to bring about a consensus candidate and would not want any split in the party especially after the party’s image has taken a beating. The party is ready to sacrifice both Shettar and Gowda if there is no consensus and could even propose the name of a third candidate to avoid any tussle.
The Yeddyurappa camp is however adamant that it would install its candidate and adds that it is even ready to show its strength if the need be.

Guv spells trouble for Yeddi

Governor of Karnataka, H R Bharadwaj has directed the Lokayukta to initiate proceedings against B S Yeddyurappa.

A communication from Raj Bhavan states that the report on illegal mining has been examined and the points taken note of. The governor says that the findings in the report against Yeddyurappa have been accepted. Hence the Lokayukta has been directed to take action andd initiate proceedings as per the the Lokayukta act of 1994.

His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka and Competent Authority under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, having carefully examined the Report of Hon’ble Lokayukta along with relevant annexures, with reference to the provisions of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1994 and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, accepted the findings and recommendation of Hon’ble Lokayukta in Chapter 22 of the Report for initiating criminal proceedings against Shri B.S.Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka.  He has also noted that Hon’ble Lokayukta may take further necessary action through Lokayukta Police.  The decision of the Competent Authority has been forwarded to the Registrar, Karnataka Lokayukta for placing it before Hon’ble Lokayukta of Karnataka.

Is the case against Yeddy good enough?

Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde displays a copy of Illegal Mining report. Photo courtesy: The Hindu

B S Yeddyurappa who stepped down as Chief Minister of Karnataka was done in by the report of the Karnataka Lokayukta on illegal mining. Now he has decided to challenge the report and seeks it quashing before the Karnataka High Court.

Now what is the exact case against the Chief Minister which forced the top leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party to seek his resignation?

The name of the Chief Minister figures under the chapter titled the South West Mining Company Limited. While going into the various details of this case, the Lokayukta and his team make note of various transactions. Although Yeddyurappa’s name does not find a direct mention in these transactions the Lokayukta has been able to prove that his sons and son-in-law were beneficiaries of two transactions. The Lokayukta concludes this chapter about the Chief Minister by saying that there was no connection of mining between the trust run by the CM’s sons and the company in question. Hence these are sham transactions and are shrouded with suspicion. These payments were made under the garb of donations to the trust when the company in question itself was in not in a financial condition to make such a huge donation. It appears that these payments of Rs 10 crore and also the sale of prime land were done to get a favourable reply from the State Government to the Central Government

The case:

The chapter starts off with the Lokayukta saying, “ there are some sensitive matters with regard to certain payments made by the South West Mining Company Limited to a trust of which the sons of Chief Minister are trustees and so also certain sales effected by the son and son in law of the Chief Minister, of an acre of land in the suburb of Bangalore to M/sSouth West Mining Company Limited which is abnormal.

Further this chapter also traces the relationship between the Jindal Group of Companies with M/s South West Mining Company Limited.

In 1994, the Jindal Vijayanagar Steel Limited (JVSL) set up its plant located at Toranagallu in the Bellary-Hospet area of Karnataka spreading over 3,700 acres. In 2005, JISCO and JVSL merged to form JSW Steel Ltd (JSW).

To supply iron ore to JSW Steel Ltd the company has submitted proposal for grant of iron ore mining lease in Donimali range on 18/7/2007. On the same date two more proposals for different locations by SWML and VMPL has also been submitted. The details of proposals submitted by them and recommended by State Government in past are pending in Government of India.

There are three proposals of grant of mining lease in favour of JSW Steel Ltd, South West Mining Ltd (SWML) and VMPL Ltd pending since 2007, were in active consideration of the State Government for replying a query raised by Ministry of Mines, Government of India regarding whether there is any complaint case pending against the proposals (Govt. of India letter dated 26/2/2010).

The Govt. of India requested the State Government to furnish the comments in the matter, in the light of the above report. This information was called in the month of March 2010. The Government of India also wanted to know whether the proposals can be processed by the Ministry. The JSW, SWML and VMPL have submitted the letters to the Director, Mines and Secretary, Mines requesting to submit suitable clarification to Ministry of Mines, Government of India so as to process the recommendation of Government of Karnataka in their favour. The copy of the representation is submitted herein as It is to be noted that though the above mentioned companies made their application for grant of mining lease on 18/7/2007, the same was not pursued till March-July 2010.

By the said time, the Government of India had sought feed-back on certain issues and the Government of Karnataka was to reply to the same. The correspondence made between the companies mentioned herein above and the Government clearly shows that the companies concerned were keen on persuading the Government to send replies to the Government of India in their favour.

Going by these developments, the Lokayukta decided to investigate the transactions of this companies and noticed that there were some unusual transactions recorded. In order to ascertain the particulars of transactions of South West Mining Limited, in respect of its purchase and sale, bank accounts details of SWML was requested as per letter dated 18/2/2011.

The SWML has submitted the details as under:

Bank Name – State Bank of Mysore Account No. – 64010486365 Branch – JVSL Branch, Toranagallu, Dist. Bellary.

The Lokayukta report states that on perusal of the said account certain abnormal transactions of money has been noticed.

Rs.10.00 crores have been paid to “Prerana Education Trust” on 17/3/2010 and 18/3/2010. Further, it states Rs.119124000.00 has been credited vide cheque no. 80912 dated 26-02-10 in the account no. 64010486365 of SWMC. The said amount has come from the account of M/s. JSW Steel Ltd.

With this trail of transaction it is clear that the amount finally came from the account of JSW Steel Ltd which is paid to the Prerna Trust.

There is no trade of iron ore between the two during the period. It is further stated that the balance in the bank account no. 64010486365 of South West Mining Ltd was running under overdraft during that period and also in other periods in the range of 3 to 5 crores. If we go by the trail of money transaction it can be construed that Rs.10.00 crores has been paid by JSW to Prerana education Trust.

In the subsequent months there are also abnormal payments of heavy amounts in favour of certain individuals.

In enquiry from the management of the company it was told that the amount of Rs. 20.00 crores was paid for the purchase of land at Bangalore.

On going through the details for agreement to sell signed between Sri Vijayendra S/o Sri B.S. Yedeurappa and Sri R.N. Sohan Kumar (Yeddyurappa’s son in law) and South West Mining Ltd, Vidyanagar, Toranagallu.  It states that full consideration amount of a sum of Rs.100,000,000.00  has been paid to the vendors by the purchasers (in the month of July 2010). The details of the cheques etc. is kept blank. It is to be noted here that all the cheques in this regard has been paid in the month of August 2010 and validity dates fall in August and September 2010. The date of the agreement is kept blank but is signed in July 2010. Hence there is a mismatch recorded in the agreement signed and amount actually credited in the accounts of the vendors. If consideration has been paid on the date of

The report comes to the conclusion that it is inferred that the amount which is credit from the account of South West Mining Company to Prerana

Education Trust and to vendors Sri. BY Vijayandra, BY Raghavendra and R.N. Sohan Kumar actually has come from the account of JSW Steels Ltd. The payment of such huge amounts creates strong suspicion as to whether such payment is made for getting favour i.e. for submitting a favourable reply to Central Government by the State Government for processing the proposals to grant of iron ore mining leases in favour of JSW, SWML and VMPL. Such possibility cannot be ruled out.

The Lokayukta report also notices that  South West Mining Company Limited was financially not sound. It had made certain applications for grant of lease simultaneously with Jindal Iron and Steel Company Limited (JISCO) and Jindal Vijayanagar Steel Limited (JVSL) for the grant of certain lands for the purpose of mining of iron ore. These proposals/ applications are pending with the Government of India. It also requires to be noted that the matter was pending at the stage of replying to quarries raised by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India. There were certain Writ Petitions and Special Leave Petitions pending against the above proposals in the months of March 2010 and July 2010. Simultaneously, Government of India also wanted to know whether the proposals can be

processed by the Ministry.

From the above facts, it is seen, the source of donation given by SWML to Prerana Trust has come from J.S.W in circuitous manner, which has then donated the said money of Rs.10.00 crores on 17/18.3.2010. It raises a question, why J.S.W had to transfer money to SWML to give donation to the Trust, when it could have directly given it to the Trust, when in reality, SWML was not in a financial condition to make such huge donation. From the nature of transaction, it looks that it is the JWSL which is making the donation through SWML. The circumstances and the manner in which the donation has been made gives rise to the suspicion that this money is not a donation, as it is understood in the common parlance, but money paid for some other consideration. Similarly, the sale of one acre of land by sons and son in law of the Chief Minister in Rachenahalli village to SWML is shrouded with suspicion.

The Lokayukta observes that he is of the opinion that these are sham transactions and the donation and the excess payment made to the family members of the Chief Minister, is to get a favourable reply from the State Government to the Central Government. In this background, receipt of money either as donation or as sale consideration amounts to receiving illegal gratification to show an official favour, which is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Therefore, I consider it necessary to recommend to the Competent Authority to take appropriate steps to initiate criminal proceedings against the Chief Minister and such other persons who are involved in the said transaction.

With this conclusion, since the report under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act to take action has to be made to Competent Authority, who is His Excellency, the Governor of Karnataka, under Sec. 2(4) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984 in the case of the Chief Minister, I will have to send a copy of this Report to His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka. This procedure was followed by me, when in an almost similar

situation in regard to a former Chief Minister of Karnataka (Dharam Singh) in the year 2008, while submitting a report to the Government, a separate Report was sent to the then His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka. 

@ 11 today

It is just a matter of time before Karnataka has a new Chief Minister. A meeting of the BJP legislators meeting has now been fixed for 11 AM in Bangalore.
The leaders from New Delhi, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh were involved in deliberations all through the night to bring about a consensus between the B S Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar who are claiming the support of 60 MLAs each.
BJP sources say that the meeting at 11 AM today will bring about a clarity to the issue and there is expected to be a consensus.
Jagadish Shettar however appeared to look confident that he would be elected the next CM of the state. Sadananda Gowda is meeting with Yeddyurappa after which he will meet with the senior leaders. The BJP however is trying its best to bring about a consensus candidate and would not want any split in the party especially after the party’s image has taken a beating. The party is ready to sacrifice both Shettar and Gowda if there is no consensus and could even propose the name of a third candidate to avoid any tussle.
The Yeddyurappa camp is however adamant that it would install its candidate and adds that it is even ready to show its strength if the need be.

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Developing in Karnataka now

The BJP in Karnataka is keeping matters close to its heart. While Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar are front runners, sources in the BJP say that one should not be too surprised if a third candidate acceptable to both sides ie Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar is selected at the end of it.
Rajnath Singh has just arrived in Bangalore ahead of a crucial meeting to elect the next Chief Minister of Karnataka. Jaitley too would join in some time. Meetings with all the factions have already commenced and K S Eshwarappa is already in a meeting with Rajnath Singh. A meeting to announce officially Yeddyurappa’s sucessor has been scheduled tentatively for 11 am tomorow but the venue has not been decided as yet.
The leaders from New Delhi have come with a fixed mindset and that is to select a consensus candidate. At no cost do they want any division in the party although both sides are pushing for a secret ballot. The national leaders will make one last ditch attempt to convince the warring factions. However it is clear that both factions as of now are not agrreable to each others candidates. This is why there is every chance of a third candidate emerging who will be acceptable to both sides.
At the moment there is status quo with BJP leaders indicating that Shettar has tje edge over Gowda.
The BJP national leadership had promised on Sunday that the CM would be made known on August 3 at 11 am. However there are likely delays and the decsision could be delayed further.

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Yeddy in his defence

Click here: Writ petition filed by B S Yeddyurappa
B S Yeddyurappa who was asked to resign as the Chief Minister of Karnataka following the report on illegal mining featuring his name has challenged this report before the Karnataka High Court. While the date of hearing is yet to be fixed, he has raised several points in his writ petition against the Lokayukta report. The main relief that is being sought by Yeddyurappa is to quash the report and in the interim stay the same.

Yeddyurappa in his defence starts off by saying that the report was leaked to the media before submission. It was reported therein that the petitioner ( B S Yeddyurappa) was indicted in the yet to be submitted report of the Lokayukta. The leakage of the contents of the report though was regretted by Lokayukta, but nevertheless the indictment of the petitioner was confirmed by the Lokayukta in the media even though the said report was yet to be submitted to the Government.

Yeddyurappa further adds that no notice was issued to him and neither was he heard before being named in the report. Reference was made to Lokayukta to investigate into the illegal mining & as such his recommendations against the Petitioner are wholly without jurisdiction. Lokayukta could not have gone into the issue relating to transactions between private individuals / entities who have nothing to do with the illegal mining in the state.

The Petitioner who enjoyed majority was elected as the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Several elements who are jealous about he being appointed as a Chief Minister started misusing the high office of the Governor which led to the Governor recommending the dissolution of the Government & the Union Government refused to accept the recommendation of the Governor who was the representative of the political party heading the Union Government, fearing that the acceptance of the recommendation would be apparently undemocratic and that it would get exposed.

Television Channels as well as newspapers continued to report that the Lokayukta had also made reference about illegal mining activities by certain ministers. This led to statements being issued by various persons including certain political leaders that the petitioner herein must resign as Chief Minister of the State. The Lokayukta himself had held press conference and stated that the report which he intended to submit to the Government had been leaked. The Lokayukta also made a statement that the reports which were appearing in the newspapers and electronic media were ‘indeed true’. The result of which was the petitioner was held guilty even before the report was submitted. Particularly in the background of investigating authority stating that the leaked report was true. It is also relevant to mention that an English Daily carried photographs of former Chief Minister Sri. S.M. Krishna was also indicted in the report. Later on, the Lokayukta once held again press conference and made a statement that the statement against Krishna was not true. It is, therefore, clear that even before the report was submitted there were claims and counter claims about the report itself.

The Lokayukta also alleges that there is a leak of the report before he could submit to the Government. Infact, the Lokayukta is the one who made repeated statements in the media that Sri S.M. Krishna & several other persons were not named in the report. If this is not a leak of the report what else would be. Mere weeping because of the leak would not cover up the leak & the damage done cannot be undone.

The leakage of the report to media even before it could be submitted to the Government & subsequent confirmation of its contents by the Lokayukta has tarnished the image of the petitioner to a great extent and ultimately resulted in tendering resignation to the office to which he was democratically elected. His right to reputation was thrown to winds & the democratic process was made a mockery.

In the present case, the Lokayukta has received certain documents relating to the donations made by M/s South West Mining Company Limited. It is stated in the report that the 3 applications for grant of license by M/s Jindal Group were pending before the Government. He infers that there was possibility of a favorable reply by the State Government. He further concludes that the donations received by the Trust and the sale consideration made in favour of the sons of the petitioner herein were in order to get favourable reply by the Government. Based on this presumption, the Lokayukta has recommended initiation of criminal proceedings against the petitioner.

The Lokayukta not only comes to the conclusion but he also records certain collateral findings that the market value of the properties sold in Rachenahalli Village was less than the sale consideration and therefore, it is a sham transaction. However, the Lokayukta before giving his report did not call for the explanation either by the petitioner, or sons of the petitioner, Prenana Trust, or South West Mining Company Limited, or Jindal Group. As such, the findings arrived at by the Lokayukta are unsustainable.

The Lokayukta has not made any endeavors to find out the following aspects –

Whether such donations were indeed made;

Under what circumstances the donations were made;

Whether proceeds of the donations have been utilized for the purpose of Trust;

What is the nature of Trust;

What kind of applications were filed by M/s Jindal Group before the State Government;

Whether the applications were for grant of mining lease & whether M/s Jindal Group was entitled or disentitled for such mining lease;

Whether the Petitioner abusing his office, had processed such applications or shown any kind of favors to those companies.

It also requires to be mentioned that there are inconsistencies in the report of the Lokayukta. While dealing with the allegations of misuse of official position by the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy relating to mining lease, in favour of Janthakal Enterprises and Sai Venkataeswara, the Lokayukta comes to the definite conclusion that there has been misconduct. However, in his discretion does not make direct or recommend any initiation of criminal prosecution against the former Chief Minister. If that was the opinion of the Lokayukta in respect of H.D.Kumarswamy, same should have been his opinion as regards Petitioner also. The report needs to be set aside on the ground of inconsistency in the nature of recommendations relating to different persons, Yeddyurappa also contends in his petition.

Shettar, Gowda and the Lingayat lobby

It seems like a thriller with an exciting finish. As all the MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party remained holed up in their hotel rooms avoiding any sort of horse trading, it is the Lingayat mutts who are playing a very important part where choosing the next Chief Minister of Karnataka is concerned.

At the moment there is no third candidate in the fray and it is a straight fight between Jagadish Shettar and Sadananada Gowda both who belong to the Ananth Kumar and B S Yeddyurappa factions respectively. The question is whether the next Chief Minister of Karnataka will be chosen through a secret ballot or will it be a consensus candidate. Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley are expected to arrive this evening in Bangalore and start the consultation process yet again before going ahead and announcing the new Chief Minister by 11 Am tomorrow as they had promised.

It is a well known fact that the Lingayat lobby in Karnataka is what controls the BJP to a large extent. The two most powerful Lingayat leaders in the state today are B S Yeddyurappa and Jagadish Shettar, who cannot see eye to eye. All along the BJP top leadership was pushing for Ananth Kumar. However when they realised that there would a lot of problems due to Yeddyurappa’s opposition and also the caste factor they sought to check mate Yeddyurappa by rooting for Shettar.

Shettar is a more acceptable candidate to a large part of the party and also the fact that he is a Lingayat goes well for the BJP. However Yeddyurappa who had become a hero for the Lingayats had a control over most of the mutts in the state and they had sworn their support to him and also his candidate no matter what.

However today there appears to be a change in pattern and the thinking in some of these mutts is that they rather support a Lingayat leader rather a candidate supported by a Lingayat. At least four mutts in the state today are in talks about this issue and have been trying to get in touch with the Lingayat leaders in Yeddyurappa’s camp to change base. There is hectic lobbying by these mutts to back Shettar and they have been telling the 30 odd Lingayat leaders in the Yeddyurappa camp to back Shettar.

However Yeddyurappa sensing this development not only continues to keep his MLAs under lock and key at a hotel, but has even dashed off to the very powerful Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur to have a word. This mutt is considered to be the most powerful of all the Lingayat mutts in Karnataka and a word from there could well ensure that all the other mutts in Karnataka fall in line. Although the Siddaganga Mutt has backed Yeddyurappa all through, it would interesting to see what they would decide on since he is out of power today.

Both the Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar camps are now protecting their MLAs as they believe that there will be no consensus and the new candidate would be decided on the basis of a secret ballot. The Ananth Kumar faction and the leadership from New Delhi is rooting for Shettar and the Yeddyurappa camp on the other hand want Sadananda Gowda. The Yeddi camp has been saying that Gowda be made the CM and Shettar a deputy CM. However they are adamant and say would never agree for any other proposition.

At the moment, the base of Shettar appears to be a bit stronger with several in the Yeddi camp thinking of a change over. Most leaders think that as a leader and administrator Shettar is a better choice and feel that Gowda will not be more than a dummy candidate in the hands of Yeddyurappa. However none within the BJP too can say clearly what will really happen tomorrow.

The leadership from Delhi however will try their best to push for a consensus candidate. A secret ballot may swing anyway and it is bound to leave many unhappy faces in the party. There is always a danger that the government will not be stable if there is no consensus candidate and hence they will avoid the secret ballot option to the maximum. Tonight will be very crucial as the leaders from New Delhi arrive in Bangalore. Talks are likely to go late into the night until things become clear by tomorrow in the morning.

K’taka governor ready to give BJP time

Governor of Karnataka, H R Bharadwaj said in Bangalore today that he is ready to give the Bharatiya Janata Party as much time as it needs to elect a new leader. Let them take their time and I will not interfere or else all you people in the media will blame and target me for forming or pulling down a government, the Governor said in lighter vein today.

On the issue of prosecuting Yeddyurappa, who stepped down as Chief Minister of Karnataka on Sunday, he said that the consequences of his resignation will follow according to the judgment of the Supreme Court. Where the sanction for prosecution from my end is concerned, I have the report of the Lokayukta with me. However he has not given me the entire report as yet, the Governor also said. However whatever I have been saying about illegal mining has been proven right as per the report of the Lokayukta, he also added.

I am watching the developments in the political circles and I am ready to give the BJP all the time it wants to elect a new leader. Let the process go through as per their time. If I am seen interfering then you people will blame me and say that I have a hand in setting up and also pulling down the government in Karnataka, the Governor told the media at the Raj Bhavan.