Bengaluru: Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who is fighting to douse the row that has erupted over the leaked video of the Hubballi conclave, seems to be getting little help from state BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel, who has not come to his rescue in the controversy.
The video is proving a huge embarrassment for the BJP as Mr Yediyurappa is allegedly heard making some pretty damning confessions about the role of the disqualified legislators in bringing his government to power on it. But although he has since gone into battle mode, calling the video fabricated and lashing out at Congress leaders for demanding dismissal of his government, Mr Kateel has made no strong comment in his support, note some party insiders.
“The development has proved that Mr Kateel is not a friend of the BJP government in Karnataka. He did not consult anyone on how to safeguard the party's interests and save the government from this embarrassment. He chickened out when it came to handling the crisis,” they alleged.
A senior leader, who is clearly no fan of Mr Kateel, claims this episode shows that he does not have what it takes to handle a political crisis. “His appointment will be as bad as the appointment of Laxman Savadi as DyCM. He can at best be an MP of Dakshina Kannada,” he added caustically.
It is no secret that the Chief Minister and Mr Kateel are not on the best of terms and the latter's appointment as state party chief was seen as a victory for another of Mr Yediyurappa’s rivals in the party, B L Santhosh.
In fact, ever since he became CM, a section of the party leaders has blamed him for taking the risk of forming the government in Karnataka in the way that he did by going against the wishes of the party's central leaders. It was only after the Maharashtra and Haryana election results in which the BJP did not fare as well as expected that Mr Yediyurappa is getting support he needs from national leaders, according to party sources. The leaking of the video appeared to be intended to weaken him at a time when he was gaining favour, but it has instead hit the credibility of the party's central leaders with president Amit Shah being dragged into the controversy, they add.