Nov 19, 2011, 04.34AM IST TNN [ Naheed Ataulla & Anil Kumar M ]
BANGALORE: His angst against those responsible for him stepping down as chief minister after 38 months, and spending 24 days in jail has not diminished. The stream of visitors — from bureaucrats to police officials to BJP leaders – makes former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa feel important.
How did you feel when BJP patriarch L K Advani said good governance and corruption cannot coexist, when he was in Bangalore recently?
I was in judicial custody and was upset when this statement was made. I have great respect for Advani and A B Vajpayee, they are like my two eyes. I am going to New Delhi on Saturday, where I will ask Advani why he made those statements when my bail petition was being heard. I’m surprised that on his rath yatra, he only referred to instances in Karnataka.
With BJP leaders, including Advani, stating theirs is a party with a difference, your being in jail must have been an embarrassment…
That’s why I resigned as CM. Now I’ve got bail in all the cases. If I have embarrassed the party, do you think BJP would have got 19 Lok Sabha seats? Or 121 MLAs? I’m not questioning or blaming Advani. The feedback he’s got is wrong. I will explain my version to him. In 2008, we lost our deposit in Koppal, but won in the bypoll. We won in Channapatna and Bangarpet, bastions of the JD(S) and Congress. I’ll assure the party bosses of 150 assembly seats and 22 Lok Sabha seats in the next elections.
You seem to be in a conciliatory mood towards the central leadership?
I am not expected to make statements on our leaders. But when they suddenly come up with such remarks, I know who’s behind all these.
Do you see a bigger threat within the party or outside?
You are 101% right. It is from within the party.
Have the corruption charges made you realize where things went wrong?
Allegations like these are natural in public life. Parties have done many things in the past 40 years but have escaped the axe. I am not an exception in taking donations, especially those given to a third party. Three unsuccessful attempts were made to remove me as chief minister, the fourth time they succeeded through Justice Santosh Hegde’s report on illegal mining. Have all our leaders read Justice Hegde’s report? I am not responsible for my sons’ business ventures. Some people who are zeroes in their constituencies here, but are heroes in New Delhi, made me lose my post. If anyone wants to become chief minister, let him/her fight elections.
Are you indispensable to the party?
No individual is indispensable. I am a sincere worker. The Sangh Parivar and BJP are responsible for my growth as BJP state president or CM. No question of quitting the BJP.
Are you the BJP’s CM candidate in the next elections?
I would like to remain an ordinary worker. When I said I’d be back in the CM’s post after six months, I was only repeating what party leaders were saying. I don’t want that post now.
Are you giving up the CM’s post for good?
I’m not going to put pressure on the higher-ups for that.
There is uncertainty over the Sadananda Gowda government’s survival with many legislators and ministers on your side…
If it were so, I would have given trouble during government formation. Though more than 70 MLAs and MPs accompanied me to Raj Bhavan while resigning, I didn’t use this support for a negative purpose.
Are the Reddy brothers a threat to the government?
Sriramulu is going to lose, how can he be a threat? The BJP will win Bellary (Rural) because of development works I took up as CM.
You project yourself as a Lingayat leader…
I don’t belong to any particular community. I am not known as a Lingayat leader, I belong to everybody. I am a devotee of all mutts. I also visit religious institutions of Muslims and Christians.