In his letter to the Governor, Eshwarappa said he had communicated his issues to PM Modi and HM Amit Shah as well.

BS Ydiyurappa and KS Eshwarappa posing togetherFile image
news Politics Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 18:33

In a big political development in Karnataka, a sitting minister lodged a complaint against Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa with Governor Vajubhai Vala on Wednesday claiming undue interference by the CM in department matters to favour his kin. Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa, an aide-turned-rival within the BJP for Yediyurappa, in his detailed letter has claimed that the CM has violated multiple rules and procedures on more than one occasion in sanctioning department funds. 

Eshwarappa in his complaint said that he had tried to address this matter internally with the CM regarding allocation of funds. But he said his complaints were not looked into. He requested the Governor to advice the CM to adopt a policy of “non-interference” in his discharge of constitutional responsibilities.

The complaint mentions that these “lapses” by the CM had been communicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Home Minister Amit Shah as well.

Read: The mess in the BJP's Karnataka unit: Tracing the history of Eshwarappa vs Yeddyurappa

This letter comes at a time when Yediyurappa is already facing fire from within the Lingayat which he is thought to be the undisputed leader of. 

Eshwarappa in his letter to the Governor said, “I am at pains, to bring to your kind notice, some of the recent actions of our Respected Chief Minister relating to my Department, which amounts to direct interference in the affairs of Ministers in-charge of Departments, in clear violation of Karnataka (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1977 and also against the established practices and procedures relating to the affairs of the State Administration.” 

Also read: PA wars: BJP Yuva Morcha leader claims BSY's PA tried to kidnap Eshwarappa's PA for a CD

He went to quote several provisions of the  Karnataka Government (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1977 to prove his point.

Coming to the point of alleged favouring of kin, Eshwarappa mentioned that President of Bengaluru Urban Zilla Panchayat is a close relative of the CM. He said while a list of proposed civil works in the ZP was due for clearance as per procedure, the CM sanctioned those plans in violation of Panchayati Raj Act and Karnataka (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1977.

He said, “It is highly unfortunate that the Hon’ble Chief Minister knowingly issued such orders ignoring the Minister-in-charge of the department. If this trend continues in future - bypassing the Minister and violating the rules, I do not know where I stand as a Minister-in-charge of the Department."

He further said the CM had sanctioned funds under HoA 5054 to the tune of Rs 774 crore under RDPR department without consulting him. Another Rs 460 crore worth of works were sanctioned by the CM without consulting him by putting pressure on the Principal Secretary, he said.

The rivalry between Yediyurappa and Eshwarappa, many say, dates back to when the two leaders fought over dominance of Shivamogga. Yediyurappa who won that round went on to become BJP’s first CM in Karnataka. But in 2009-10, when Yediyurappa was facing political attacks from many quarters of his own party, Eshwarappa who was a cabinet colleague, was one of the most vocal opponents.

When Yediyurappa quit BJP and formed KJP, while many had spoken against the former CM, Eshwarappa particularly had been caustic.

Their animosity resurfaced in public first during 2016 over Eshwarappa being apparently ignored for the party’s state vice-president position while Yediyurappa was the state president. 

Eshwarappa who was trying to find his own footing in the party had set up the Sangolli Rayanna Brigade a parallel outfit to unite Dalits under the party fold which was considered  to be largely a Congress vote bank. Eshwarappa was unhappy as Yediyurappa was appointing those who had quit the BJP along with him in 2013 while ignoring BJP loyalists like him.

However, that fight was quelled with the intervention of Amit Shah, then party’s national president and Eshwarappa was given the position of President of the BJP’s OBC Morcha.

Under the surface, Eshwarappa and Yediyurappa had been differing on the issuing of towing the RSS hardline. While Eshwarappa is a RSS favourite, Yediyurappa is known to take independent stands from time to time unlike other heavyweight BJP leaders.

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