B S Yediyurappaand D K Shivakumar: Ties which bind

B S Yediyurappa’s remarks backing senior Congress leader have embarrassed BJP’s state and central leadership.

Bengaluru: Senior Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar who is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate for his alleged involvement in money laundering and other financial irregularities, has received the support of not only his party leaders and that of the Janata Dal (Secular), but also surprisingly of Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa.

Denying the Congress party's charges that Mr Shivakumar's arrest was politically motivated, Mr. Yediyurappa recently remarked that he, in fact, would be very happy, if the former minister was cleared of all charges.

The Chief Minister's remarks on the Congress leader left both the state and Central units of the Bharatiya Janata Party embarrassed, especially as the saffron party's national leadership had categorically instructed the state leaders not to make any controversial statement on the arrest, according to party sources.

But it is no secret that Mr Yediyurappa has been on good terms with Mr Shivakumar for years. In fact, when he was in a crisis in 2008 - 2011, the BJP leader is said to have invited him to join his party and promised to make him a minister in his Cabinet.

And soon after the 2018 Assembly elections, when Mr. Yediyurappa staked claim to form the government despite lacking a simple majority , he reportedly telephoned Mr. Shivakumar, asking for his support.

But the Congress leader is said to have politely refused his request.

This, however, did not ruin their friendship as Mr. Yediyurappa is said to havce avoided campaigning in the Bengaluru Rural constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, as Mr. Shivakumar's brother, D.K. Suresh was contesting from it.

Aware of the relationship between the two men, even state BJP ministers and MLAs have not made any adverse comment on the arrest of Mr. Shivakumar, say sources.

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