Yeddyurappa praises Sonia and Congress

Bangalore: In an embarrassment to BJP, sulking former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa today praised Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her party for being supportive of leaders facing trouble "unlike" his own party.

Upping the ante, Yeddyurappa also attacked his successor Sadananda Gowda calling him a "betrayer" for not vacating the chief ministership in six months to pave the way for his return to the post from which he quit after the Lokayukta report on illegal mining indicted him in July last year.

Yeddyurappa`s outburst came as the ruling BJP was hit by a fresh crisis after nine ministers loyal to him submitted their resignations to him yesterday and gunned for Gowda`s removal. "I have to praise Sonia Gandhi. I noticed that Congress party and its people are united and supportive if any one of their party members gets into trouble. They help each other and resolve the problems," he said addressing a gathering at a function here.

Venting his anger over BJP not being supportive of him after the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe into his alleged involvement in illegal mining during his tenure, Yeddyurappa said, "In Congress whenever a prominent leader faces allegations, that party rises to protect him and tell people that law will take its own course. But in BJP, people will be waiting for a person to get into problems and to sideline him. In BJP, people try to pull the chair and grab someone else`s position also."

70-year old Lingayat strongman, who is entangled in a spate of corruption cases, has made repeated attempts to regain chief ministership but the central leadership had made it clear that he has to come clean in the charges levelled against him for his reinstatment. Yeddyurappa was also critical of Gowda`s comments that a politician cannot expect God to wash off his sins by making offerings in remarks seen as a dig at him.

Terming Gowda a "betrayer", Yeddyurappa said he had not kept up his promise that he would resign in six months to pave way for his (Yeddyurappa`s) come back. He likened the Chief Minister`s remarks to "devil quoting the scriptures". Yeddyurappa said he was deeply pained by the attitude of his party leaders and expressed confidence that he would emerge victorious from the cases he faced.

Ignoring the reported directive by BJP high command to him not to precipitate the crisis, Yeddyurappa continued to hold discussions with his loyalists over their future action. He persisted with the demand that a meeting of the legislature party be convened to discuss party affairs and other issues. Last week, a group of MLAs had demanded an emergency legislature party meeting.

"It is true that a few ministers and MLAs have handed over their resignations to me. They are angry with the treatment meted out to them by the Chief Minister", Yeddyurappa said. They were upset over the Chief Minister`s letter to BJP President Nitin Gadkari seeking disciplinary action against them because "they were close to me", he said. Yeddyurappa claimed nine ministers and about 15 MLAs handed over their letters of resignation to him yesterday and more are likely to follow by tomorrow.

In the 225-member Karnataka Assembly, BJP has a strength of 120. Yeddyurappa claims to have the support of at least nine ministers and 45 MLAs. Asked if he would resign from the party, Yeddyurappa said "I have not taken any decision. I will take a decision at an appropriate time after consulting my ministers, leaders". State unit BJP President K S Eswarappa made a vain bid to meet Yeddyurappa at his residence but by then he had left for a function.

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