Not a Rebel: Karnataka Minister Who Spoke Against BS Yediyurappa
In a five-page letter to Governor, Eshwarappa listed three cabinet allocations made by the CM without his assent.
Asserting that he is a “loyal party worker” and not a “rebel”, Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa on Friday, 2 April, said that he had not “raised any complaint” against Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in his letter to Governor Vajubhai R Vala but only sought his “guidance” on how to tackle the issue of funds being diverted without his concurrence.
Signalling that he would not succumb to the signature campaign launched by Yediyurappa’s supporters, Eshwarappa said:
“I am a loyal party worker. I have been with this party for the longest time. Those who launched a signature campaign must also know that I would be the last person to cheat or deceive my party or its ideology. I carry my party in my heart. I do not have to learn from these people about loyalty. Their loyalty is for a person, mine is for the party.”
‘Have No Personal Problem With Yediyurappa, But Rules Shouldn’t Be Violated’
Ruling out any differences with Yediyurappa, he said that everybody thinks in a different manner and this letter has provided an opportunity to think in that manner.
“Just because I have written a letter to Governor Vala, it will not come in our relations. One must know that Yediyurappa and I have grown up having food on the same plate. We are even business partners. We don't have any personal issues, but when it comes to rules and regulations – I felt these should not be violated. This letter will not come in our personal relations. For politicians, personal and politics are two different things,” he said at a press meet.
He added that he met the Governor to take some advice. "He (Vala) was a Finance Minister in Gujarat for quite a long duration. I wanted to seek his opinion. Mind you, none of the ministers are mere postmen...at least I am not," he retorted.
‘Why Should the CM Divert Funds?’
Asked about BJP General Secretary Arun Singh’s remarks criticising him, Eshwarappa said that he might have said what the minister had done is "wrong", "but that is his opinion".
“I am not a postman, none of the ministers are postmen. Why should the CM divert the fund without informing the minister?” he asked.
Eshwarappa said that he welcomes the distribution of funds as per the request of the MLA but the procedure and the rules must be followed.
Asked to comment on state Congress President DK Shivakumar's demand for his resignation, he quipped that Shivakumar can keep dreaming about it.
“Let him dream... who can stop him from dreaming,” he asked.
Noting that although a few ministers had addressed a press conference on behalf of the Chief Minister on Thursday, he said that they had later called him to tell him that what he had done was right and they were under a compulsion to speak against him.
"They appreciated me and told me that they will support me," Eshwarappa claimed.
What Is the Matter All About?
On March 31, in his five-page letter to Vala, Eshwarappa had listed three cabinet allocations made by the CM without Eshwarappa's assent.
This included Rs 65 crore sanctioned for Bangalore Urban Zilla panchayat – headed by Yediyurappa’s relative – in spite of the allocation being only Rs 1.17 crore, neglecting all other 29 districts.
In another instance, the CM had sanctioned Rs 460 crore for civil works and Rs 774 crore for similar works without Eshwarappa's sanction.
He said all these orders had been stayed by his department, but the CM's office was allegedly exerting undue pressure on the Principal Secretary to issue the necessary orders.
Eshwarappa also added that top BJP leaders, including PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, party chief JP Nadda, and others, had been apprised of this issue.
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.