Zee Media Bureau/Himanshu Kapoor
After splitting from the BJP and forming his own party, Karnataka Janata Party, tainted former chief minister of Karnataka BS Yeddyurappa on Thursday extended his support to BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, and described him as "a great leader". Yeddyurappa said his party won`t merge with the BJP but will extend support to the National Democratic Alliance.
While the support of Yeddyurappa – which will ensure that the Lingayat votes don’t split – may help the BJP turn the tide in Karnataka after the poor show in the assembly elections, the bigger quandary for Modi would be to assess the cost of shaking hands with Yeddyurappa.
Yeddyurappa may be gung-ho about his wish to see Modi as the next prime minister of India, but his hero’s hands appeared to be tied.
Among the notions that has transformed Narendra Modi into ‘NaMo’ is his near absolute record against corruption. Even after serving as the Chief Minister for over a decade, Modi’s slate is clean.
More importantly, Modi has been effectively using his clean track record to target the UPA government – which has been embroiled in a barrage of scams – for its failures on the front.
There lies the Yeeddurappa quandary.
The Lingayat strongman was indicted by the Karnataka Lokayukta for illegal mining and scams. The Lokayukta report submitted on 27 July 2011 stated that there is sufficient evidence to indict Yeddyurappa. The report said that Yeddyurappa misused his official position to favour his sons in the allotment of land in Bangalore. One acre of land at Rachenahalli in Bangalore was purchased by his family for Rs 40 lakhs and was re-sold to a mining company for Rs 20 crore resulting in significant profit.
If Modi associates with Yeddyurappa then he will be compromising his message of clean governance. Also, it may give other parties a chance to hit out at the BJP.
Also, reports claimed that BJP national president Rajnath Singh is not enthused to relook the Yeddyurappa issue at this juncture and would prefer till his name is cleared of the corruption taint.
With having faced the ignominy of sliding from being in power to not even having majority as the biggest opposition party in Karnataka, the BJP has few choices other than embracing Yeddyurappa if it wants to regain a foothold in its first outpost south of Vindhyas.
However, the choice is tough – risk taking Yeddyurappa back or lose Lok Sabha seats. Let Narendra Modi decide.