Bangalore, November 18: The chorus of corruption charges and demands for the resignation of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa are getting louder and the BJP is in damage-control mode.
The party’s core committee will meet this evening to discuss the corruption allegations against Yeddyurappa, BJP president Nitin Gadkari said. Yeddyurappa has been accused of denotifying and facilitating the allotment of land to his sons and daughter.
The BJP has reportedly decided that the Chief Minister’s family will return the land that was allotted to them. But sources in Karnataka say the chief minister is yet to take a final call on giving back the land.
Not that Yeddyurappa has not been busy trying to douse fires. He has called a Cabinet meeting today to discuss the alleged land scam and also announced a high-level inquiry into the charges against him. The Karnataka Cabinet is likely to recommend a judicial probe into the allegations against the CM.
The inquiry would be conducted either by a retired Supreme Court judge or a sitting judge of the High Court.
The Opposition in Karnataka has been waving documents that purportedly show that government land was de-notified or de-reserved and sold at heavily-discounted rates for a real estate business owned partly by the chief minister’s immediate family members this year.
They allege that in May 2010, on Yeddyurappa’s orders, close to 11 acres of land that had been acquired by the government for a public project was made available to a Dubai-based businessman whose company then went on to sell a part of that land to a firm linked to Yeddyurappa’s sons, Raghavendra and Vijayendra.
The Opposition’s campaign is fronted by former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, whose revelations of property deals involving the chief minister’s two sons forced Yeddyurappa to face two votes of confidence last month. "Certainly he has to resign," said HD Kumaraswamy.
While he battles an aggressive Opposition, the Chief Minister also seems to be fighting internal battles.
Yeddyurappa has reportedly shot off a confidential letter to BJP top leaders seeking action against his main opponent and party general secretary Ananth Kumar for what he calls anti-party activities. The Karnataka Chief Minister has, in his note, complained that the Ananth-Kumar-led faction is trying to destabilise the BJP government.
However, on Thursday, Yeddyurappa said the BJP is together and the "dispute" is only a media creation.
He also dismissed reports that Gadkari and the RSS were "unhappy" with him, insisting that the party high command was happy with his government.
Accusations against Yeddyurappa
* The Karnataka CM has been accused of denotifying government land and allotting sites to favour his sons
* He allegedly speeded up the allotment of industrial land to a company owned by his sons.
* The CM has been accused of getting industrial land allotted to his daughter’s company.
* It has also been alleged that the land denotified in favour of a Dubai-based businessman was later sold at less than market rate to a company owned by the chief minister’s sons and son-in-law
* Yeddyurappa says he did nothing that previous Chief Ministers have not
* He has named other senior politicians who have taken land decisions that benefited their friends and relatives.
* The Karnataka Chief Minister points out the site is 55 km from Bangalore and says that had he shown favour, it would have been closer.