Minutes after Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah gave a press conference at the Bengaluru press club on Sunday, the venue was taken over by the BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate, Yeddyurappa. And facing multiple questions about seats given to the Reddy brothers by the party, his sharing a stage with tainted mining baron Janardhan Reddy, and a seat being denied to his son Vijayendra, the former Chief Minister lost his cool at the meeting.
At the beginning of the press meet, Yeddyurappa was asked about seats given to Reddy brothers Somashekara and Karunakara, and why Janardhan Reddy was campaigning for the party. He replied that the Reddy brothers will win the election, and further said that Janardhan Reddy was only helping a friend – Sriramulu – by campaigning for him.
Later during the meet, the questions about the Reddys came up once again. A journalist asked Yeddyurappa whether there was a difference of opinion between Amit Shah and him over mining baron Janardhan Reddy, and further asked the BJP leader to clarify whether Janardhan Reddy was still a part of the BJP.
To this, Yeddyurappa replied: “Janardhan Reddy is not a part of the BJP.”
“It’s true that I met Janardhan Reddy once… But since the court order has come now, we’re not going to have any such meeting. I will be very careful in future,” Yeddyurappa further said.
The journalist was referring to a public meeting on April 21, where Yeddyurappa shared a stage with Janardhan Reddy – a former BJP minister who is an accused in massive mining scams in Ballari.
Janardhan Reddy is not allowed to enter Ballari as per his bail conditions by the Supreme Court; however, the BJP has given seats to his brothers Somasekhara Reddy and Karunakara Reddy, from constituencies in Ballari district.
While BJP president Amit Shah on March 31 claimed that the party had nothing to do with Janardhan Reddy, Janardhan had approached the Supreme Court, seeking permission to enter Ballari to campaign for his brothers. The court, however, declined his request, and said there was no need for him to campaign for his brothers.
On Sunday, unhappy with Yeddyurappa’s answer to the question, journalists grilled him on the issue. When asked if it was necessary to bring the Reddy brothers into Ballari, and whether the BJP couldn’t win without the Reddy brothers, Yeddyurappa, who started losing his cool, said, “My dear friend! For us to win the constituency, it is important to me… And we’re going to sweep the election in Ballari!”
“But he has abused you in public,” a journalist said. “Where? You forget (it)! What is the people’s opinion?” Yeddyurappa replied.
By then, the leader lost his cool. “My dear friend! I’ll tell you one thing: We’re going to win a hundred and one percent. Don’t ask me the same (questions) again and again!” he yelled.
Immediately after, he was asked why, if there was no difference of opinion between him and the party’s central leadership, his son Vijayendra was denied a ticket – and later pacified with being made the general secretary of the youth wing of the BJP. Yeddyurappa further lost his cool and raised his voice while replying to the question. “That is left to the party! They have made him the yuva morcha state general secretary because of his popularity…”
During the meet, the BJP leader also justified his party not giving seats to a single Muslim or Christian candidate for the election. “Last time also, when we won 110 seats, we did not have a single Muslim candidate,” Yeddyurappa said. “It is all about winnabilitty. But when we form the cabinet, we will come up with a programme for Muslims,” he said.