With barely a day to go before the much hyped up Lokyukta report on illegal mining, Karnataka has erupted into a hotbed of activity. While Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappas rivals are plotting his removal in the wake of his name appearing in the report, the man himself is holding his chair very tight.
Yeddyurappa finds himself alone in this battle as he faces his party colleagues, the high command, the Lokayukta and the Governor all of who want him to step down.
Yeddyurappa meanwhile has thrown open a challenge to the Lokayukta questioning the credibility of the report. Why was it leaked he questioned. He ought not to have spoken about it before making it public, Yeddyurappa who is in Mauritus said when asked. Earlier he had said that there was no question of him stepping down while literally rubbishing the report.
The Lokayukta Justice Santhosh Hegde however said this is not some personal battle. It does not matter to me who steps down or not. Let those guilty be punished. I am not really expecting the State Government to do anything and I feel only the Supreme Court can do something about this he said when contacted.
The Congress meanwhile has raised its pitch ahead of this report. They have however heaved a sigh of relief as the report does not mention the names of former Chief Ministers S M Krishna and N Dharam Singh. The Lokayukta had said that the report does not deal with that period.
The real trouble for Yeddyurappa is however from his party workers who have already written to the high command seeking his removal. The likes of Jagadish Shettar, K S Eshwarappa and R Ashok are in waiting to grab Yeddyurappa’s coveted chair. Yeddyurappa has however made it clear that the chair can be occupied by Shobha Karandlage and none else. He also has said that if this change is made then he should be made the party president, a formula which his rivals have trashed.
His rivals say on condition of anonymity that the more Yeddyurappa sticks on the more the image of the party gets tarnished.
However it is not easy for the high command to remove Yeddyurappa unless he is pacified and his terms agreed upon. He is literally a one man show and enjoys the clout of more than half the MLAs in the party who say he is the face of the party. Any hasty move by the high command could seal the fate of the party as the party would split.
The CMs legal team has advised him not to quit as it would give an indication that he guilty. He has been advised to challenge the report and wait and see what the judiciary would decide. An independent inquiry is not good enough to topple a CM his team has advised him.
The ball is surely in the court of the Chief Minister and what he would do one would have to wait and see. However for the time being it does not appear to budge.
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