Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Friday said Governor H.R. Bhardwaj was behaving as an agent of the Congress carrying out its directions to destroy the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.
In the midst of political turbulence owing to his conflict with Governor Bhardwaj, Yeddyurappa, who faced problems from within the party over the alleged land scam and flak from an aggressive Opposition, defended his actions as the chief minister and cleared the air on the controversies surrounding him in his first TV interview to Headlines Today Executive Editor Rahul Kanwal.
Criticising the Governor for his recent decisions, especially for granting permission to prosecute him in the land scam, Yeddyurappa said, “Unfortunately, the Governor has been exhibiting extra-constitutional authority and is continuously blaming this government. He has converted Raj Bhavan into a political party and also our state government. In the history of Indian democracy, a popularly elected government was not put to face the vote of confidence two times within three days.”
“He came here just to destroy Bharatiya Janata Party. He wants to bring back Congress into power here. That may be the intention of our Governor. I told plenty of times, when people are with us… don’t need the floor test also… I think we are the first in the country to have proved majority in the House two times in 3 days,” the chief minister said.
“I want to ask our Governor sahab, ‘what is your intention?’, ‘is it fair on your part to do like this?’. People have lost faith about our Governor sahab,” Yeddyurappa said.
Asked if the Governor was acting at the behest of the Congress high command, the Chief Minister said, “Congress leadership has sent this Governor for this purpose only. Because every day we are observing … many times Deve Gowdaji and Congress people come by. He has proved that he is just like an Opposition leader of Karnataka.”
“The Governor just studied those charges and gave the right to prosecution. I have no objection for this prosecution thing. I will face it in the court,” he said, adding, “It is already under judicial inquiry. I have appointed a judicial inquiry for this purpose. You could have referred it to that committee. I met Governor three-four times. He never told me about these allegations.”
Yeddyurappa rules out resignation
Asked if he would resign in the wake of his prosecution, Yeddyurappa said, “When I am not guilty, why should I bother about these allegations? I want to know from the Congress people, or the JD(S) people, whether they have got any document to prove that I have done any mistake.”
“When I am not guilty, I have not done anything wrong, why should I step down?” he asked, adding, “When people are with me, all-India leaders are with me, why should I bother about these false allegations? People will decide.”
Asked about BJP president Nitin Gadkari calling the Chief Minister’s act as “immoral” and not “illegal”, he clarified, “I have spoken to Gadkariji. He had gone to China, he came two days back. Somebody might have misquoted him. I have convinced him.”
Holding both the Opposition parties responsible for the political turmoil in the state, Yeddyurappa said, “Congress and JD(S) are together for the last 50 years. They have mutual understanding to hide each other’s mistakes.”
‘I’m the first CM to have stopped iron ore export’
Tackling the controversial issue of illegal mining, Yeddyurappa said, “I am the first man to refer this matter to Lokayukta. They have all given so many illegal licences. Lakhs of tonnes of iron ore exported. I am the first Chief Minister to have stopped the export. There is no illegal mining in Karnataka.”
However Yeddyurappa refrained from any comment on action against his key Cabinet members — the Reddy brothers — who have been often accused of illegal mining in and outside the state.
“They might have done something in other state (Andhra Pradesh) and the inquiry is going on. In my state, they have not done any illegal mining at all,” he said, adding the allegation on them was not yet proved.
“When there is no specific allegation against Reddy brothers, when there is no mining in Karnataka, I can’t interfere in other states (matters). I have not received any complaints against them. If their guilt is proved then I will think of any action, I don’t want to comment on it now,” the Chief Minister said, referring to various agencies probing charges against the two ministers.
‘I will never leave BJP’
Yeddyurappa denied that he ever threatened to split the party. “That is not correct. I explained everything to them (senior party leaders). Recently all our senior leaders met the President and gave a written complaint against our Governor. If they won’t have faith in me, they would not have done that at all,” he said.
Asked if the BJP high command was scared of him because the Lingayat community backed him, Yeddyurappa said, “I have been an RSS man from the beginning. People of Karnataka have faith in me. I am not going to disobey the party leadership’s any order, any decision. In my lifetime, I will not leave this party. I have built up the party (from) when there were only two MLAs.”
Yeddyurappa said he was open to a Central role in the party if the party feels the need. Even as he had a couple of party leaders in mind as the next candidate for Prime Minister, the Chief Minister refused to name them saying it was not the right time and platform to disclose them.