Bangalore: The faction-ridden, scam-scarred ruling BJP in Karnataka on Tuesday faced embarrassment as a senior leader demanded the resignation of state party chief and another of a deputy chief minister. The Bharatiya Janata Party's first Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who has been angling for state party chief's chair, said incumbent K.S. Eshwarappa should quit as he was unable to do a good job as he held the important portfolio of revenue.
Meanwhile, Ayanur Manjunath, party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member, slammed deputy chief minister R. Ashoka, who handles home and transport portfolios, for "mismanaging" last week's strike by road transport corporation employees. Talking to reporters at Shimoga, about 280 km north of Bangalore, Manjunath also took a swipe at Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar saying he had no control over the ministers. Manjunath accused Ashoka of working to the dictates of Janata Dal-Secular party.
BJP circles were taken by surprise by Manjunath's attack on Ashoka as it came four days after the strike ended with the government promising to consider employees' wake hike and other demands. The two-day strike had crippled bus services across the state and commuters had a harrowing time.
Yeddyurappa's outburst against Eshwarappa, however, did not come as a surprise to party circles as his attacks on state and central party leaders are seen as pressure tactics for a plum post. Tuesday was the third consecutive day that Yeddyurappa, who was forced to quit in July last year over corruption charges, hit out at his party. Addressing a public meeting at Haveri, 330 km north of Bangalore, the former chief minister said if Eshwarappa had the interest of the party in mind, he should immediate vacate the party chief's post so that an able person could take over.
On Sunday, BSY ticked off BJP central leaders at another public meeting in Haveri. He said he did not need the support of BJP leaders to become chief minister again. He had also said Karnataka does not need a BJP or Congress or JD-S government but "only a farmers' friendly government".
These attacks were not taken seriously by state BJP leaders as indicated by the response of Shettar, the third BJP leader to head the government in four years. Asked if Yeddyurappa meant his government was not friendly, Shettar told reporters that the comments showed the former chief minister's concern for farmers.