Power Equations, Wafer-Thin Majority and Other Things Worrying Yediyurappa About DK Shivakumar’s Arrest
With DK Shivakumar’s arrest, a demoralised Congress has now found a reason to hit the streets and give sleepless nights to Yediyurappa, who is already fighting an internal power struggle in the BJP.
File photo of Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa.
Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa returned from a day trip to Mumbai on Tuesday evening. The official reason given was the Mahadayi river water sharing issue and Ganesh Utsav in the neighbouring Maharashtra capital. But insiders claim that he flew to Mumbai to thank chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for helping him in “Operation Lotus” by sheltering dissident JDS and Congress MLAs for weeks.
A visibly happy Yediyurappa landed in Bengaluru in the evening and got the news that Congress strongman DK Shivakumar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged money laundering case in New Delhi.
Pouring cold water over the enthusiasm of his supporters, Yediyurappa told media that he was not happy about Shivakumar’s arrest by the Centre and hoped that he would be out soon.
Mincing no words, he said, “I never wish ill to anyone. DK Shivakumar’s arrest is not a happy news for me. I am upset over this. I hope he comes out soon”.
He has also informally instructed the BJP cadre not to celebrate the arrest and issue public statements.
Those who know the relationship they share and are aware of the complex caste and political situation in the state are not surprised by Yediyurappa’s remarks. Because he knows that the arrest by ED might make Shivakumar a hero among Congress cadres and people from his caste Vokkaligas. A demoralised Congress has now found a reason to hit the streets and give sleepless nights to Yediyurappa, who is already fighting an internal power struggle in the BJP.
The agrarian Vokkaligas are the second largest caste in Karnataka and the BJP, for the first time, won their trust in the recent Lok Sabha elections by decimating both JDS and Congress in old Mysore region. Incidentally, DK Suresh, younger brother of DK Shivakumar, is the only Congress candidate who could win on a party ticket from Karnataka.
Yediyurappa fears that arrest of their emerging caste leader Shivakumar might upset the power equations in the state. He is also worried about the stability of his government which enjoys a wafer-thin majority in the Assembly. A wounded war horse Shivakumar might turn against the BJP government in Karnataka, shaking the foundation of BSY regime.
After his arrest last night, the Vokkaliga belt of Old Mysore is tense and angry supporters have hit the streets, burning even the government-run KSRTC buses and damaging public property.
In a rare act of unity, the entire state Congress has come together and thrown its weight behind Shivakumar. They have also called for statewide protests. Former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah has blamed Yediyurappa for the arrest. Speaking to media, he said, “Yediyurappa is now shedding crocodile tears about the arrest. The ED has arrested him after informing him. People understand the entire drama.”
Some even claim that Yediyurappa and Shivakumar have some kind of a business relationship. Shivakumar has been threatening to expose some links, claiming that he is in possession of a secret diary that has explosive details about the business deals of the BJP leaders and it has scared Yediyurappa.
“Shivakumar is now wounded. Once he is out, he will declare a no-holds-barred attack on the BJP and its leaders. He knows a lot about everyone. It has scared Yediyurappa and others in the BJP,” said a DK loyalist.
However, the state BJP claims Yediyurappa has expressed regret over Shivakumar’s arrest out of courtesy and the party has nothing to worry.
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