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Double whammy for Karnataka BJP - Advani and RSS

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Sat, Oct 22, 2011 16:07 hrs
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Bangalore: Mired in scandals, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka Saturday suffered a double blow -- from senior party leader L.K. Advani and the party's mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Party sources here said Advani had cancelled his Oct 30 anti-corruption rally here.

They did not give any reasons but it was apparent that Advani found it awkward to do so when the party's first chief minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, and three former ministers are in jail over corruption charges.

As if this was not enough for the state unit, the RSS publicly said for the first time that it was embarrassed over developments involving Yeddyurappa, a staunch RSS man.

Advani was to address the rally in Bangalore as part of his nation-wide Jan Chetna Yatra, a roadshow to mobilize people's support against corruption.

He has been under attack from most of the other political parties for taking out the rally when so many of his Karnataka unit leaders were in jail for corruption or facing probe.

The Congress had taunted him to start the yatra from Karnataka with Yeddyurappa as charioteer.

The cancellation of Bangalore rally and RSS statement will give one more stick to the Congress, already under massive attack for corruption in the United Progressive Alliance government it is leading, with which to beat the BJP.

For the Congress unit in Karnataka, it is a morale booster as it has fared poorly in all the elections since it lost power in 2004 and has been demanding immediate dissolution of the assembly and fresh polls.

Advani, however, will continue with the yatra in the coastal districts of Karnataka, addressing public meetings in Mangalore, Udupi, Honnavara and Ankola on Oct 31, sources said.

While BJP has been shy of acknowledging that the Yeddyurappa episode has put the party in an awkward position, the RSS issued a statement here Saturday saying it was embarrassed

'The recent episode of Yeddyurappa is an embarrassment to the RSS,' the organization's joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said.

Yeddyurappa moved to Jan Sangh, BJP's earlier avatar, after being active in the RSS.

Hosable said: 'Whenever Yeddyurappa visited Sangh headquarters here, RSS senior functionaries advised him as he is a Swayamsevak.'

He did not elaborate on the advice given.

'If he has not taken the advice seriously, it is wrong to blame the RSS', Hosabale said.

The double whammy came for the BJP on a day jail stay of Yeddyurappa was extended till Nov 3 and police formally began probing land grab charges against Home Minister R. Ashoka.

Besides Yeddyurappa, three former BJP ministers -- mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy, Katta Subramanya Naidu and S. N. Krishnaiah Shetty -- are also in jail.

Reddy is in Hyderabad's Chanchalaguda jail for illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh while Naidu and Shetty are in Bangalore on corruption charges.

Yeddyurappa's has sought bail from the high court which will resume hearing on it Monday.

On Monday Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani will know whether he too will face police probe on land grab charges.

The BJP veteran's yatra is scheduled to enter Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district on the west coast Oct 30 from Kasargod in neighbouring Kerala.

He was to fly to Bangalore from Dakshina Kannada's main town Mangalore, about 350 km away, to address a public meeting in the evening.

Advani had often expressed his displeasure over the way his party was running its first government in Karnataka, which it had once hailed as gateway to rule south India.



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