|Yeddy to go finally?|
|Saturday, 23 July 2011 00:00|
The indefatigable Karnataka Lokayukta has done it again. While his second report (running into around 8,000 pages) on mining violations has yet to be formally presented to the state government, reports make it clear that Justice N Santosh Hegde has found substantive and voluminous evidence of an expansive illegal mining scam that has caused the a loss of over R1,800 crore to the exchequer between March 2009 and May 2010. Tracking the money trail across different ports in south India, the report indicts a host of political heavyweights across the political spectrum. But there doesn’t seem to be any doubt that the maximum burden of wrongdoing is being hefted by BJP heavyweights—whether it is the infamous Reddy brothers of Bellary or the chief minister BS Yeddyurappa who has been holding charge of the mining portfolio. On the Reddy brothers’ front, we have seen one faction of the BJP point fingers at another faction over the years. On the illegal mining front generally, BJP has been postponing punishment by saying that the Lokayukta’s report was yet awaited. Well, the wait is almost over. And the question is whether the BJP will bite the bullet this time, as opposed to what it did in 2008 when the first Hegde report was released, and neither the Reddy brothers nor Yeddyurappa were shown the door.
The BJP could do what it has been doing so far, which is to say that the Congress’s record is no cleaner. But the question is whether the BJP is serious about taking a shot at the Centre in 2014. For all that the Congress has been mired in one scam after another between the Commonwealth Games and A Raja’s arrest, it has removed all tainted ministers, even if this was done kicking and screaming and after the courts intervened in some cases. The BJP is in the opposition, and should really have been on the ascendant, given the host of issues dragging the Congress down—from price rise to policy paralysis. Yet, it’s not looking at good odds in the forthcoming assembly elections, say, in UP or Punjab. BJP simply cannot attack Congress failings in a concerted way until Karnataka keeps compromising its deck whenever it tries to do this. Sure, Yeddyurappa gave BJP its first government in the South but surely protecting Yeddyurappa is not worth a government at the Centre.