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Amit Shah Cracks Whip on Karnataka BJP for Failing to Capitalise on I-T Raids

Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa was rapped on why the Karnataka BJP unit hasn't gone ballistic over the raids that could have done serious damage to the state government.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:August 15, 2017, 11:25 AM IST
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Amit Shah Cracks Whip on Karnataka BJP for Failing to Capitalise on I-T Raids
BJP chief Amit Shah has pulled up leaders of the Karnataka BJP unit (Getty Images)
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Bengaluru: As the BJP sets its sights on the southern states, party chief Amit Shah has pulled up the Karnataka unit for not going all guns blazing against the Congress on the recent income tax raids on minister DK Shivakumar.

In one of the 20 meetings that he attended in Karnataka, Shah reprimanded state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa for not taking up the I-T raids as a campaign issue. "What greater issue will you get other than the raids that point to corruption," he is said to have asked the state leadership.

Yeddyurappa was rapped on why the Karnataka BJP unit hasn't gone ballistic over the raids that could have done serious damage to the state government.

The central leadership is unhappy after having already lost ground on other issues such as the Lingayat religion demand and Hindi imposition.

Party sources said state leaders, including Yeddyurappa, barely spoke on the raids issue because of their ties with Shivakumar. In fact, three years ago, Yeddyurappa and Shivakumar were co-accused in the same illegal land allotment case.

Shah is said to have told Yeddyurappa to keep friendships and business partnerships aside and focus on politics “like a professional”.

The rebuke seems to have worked and Yeddyurappa scurried to hold a press briefing, announcing a week-long agitation against corruption in the Congress government. The briefing also paved way for Shah to train guns on the Congress government on the issue of corruption.

"The Siddaramaiah government is the most corrupt in the country. It has no shame. Even after these raids, the CM hasn't dropped Shivakumar from the cabinet. Instead, they wear the corruption charges like medals. Why has Congress not sacked or suspended these people," Shah said.

The party president also rapped office-bearers asking if they have engaged any of the 80 lakh new members who have enlisted with the party.

This was apparently one of the first questions that Shah fired on his whirlwind three-day tour in Bengaluru to take stock of election preparedness. "It was like a classroom where the schoolteacher asks questions randomly, with some trick questions in between," said a BJP leader, who was part of these meetings in Bengaluru.

Shah attended about 20 meetings with functionaries at different levels, held many rounds with the core committee over these three days.

Almost every meeting ended with some grim faces, while some others were held accountable for not fulfilling their targets. He held meetings with district office-bearers, SC/ ST, OBC cells, MLAs and MPs, with leaders who have recently joined BJP deflecting from other parties, with leaders of constituencies where the BJP had failed to win a seat in the last election, with some spiritual gurus and RSS and its affiliate organizations.

Over time, the issue of political killings will also get noisier as the BJP continues to blame the Congress government for politics of 'appeasement' and use it in the coastal Karnataka region as an election tool.

"They have willingly withdrawn many cases against SDPI workers who attacked the RSS cadre. For appeasement (of minorities), an environment of insecurity is being created," Shah said.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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