Bengaluru: Chief minister B S Yediyurappa and rural development and panchayat raj minister K.S. Eshwarappa once used to be known as the ‘jodettu’ (twin bullocks) of Shivamogga. But ever since the chief minister expanded his cabinet, distance has been growing between them.
When Yediyurappa celebrated his 77th birthday yesterday, all cabinet ministers attended the function and greeted him warmly. Except Eshwarappa, who chose not to attend.
It does seem that terms are strained between Yediyurappa and the man he used to call ‘Esha’.
A few supporters of Eshwarappa who did go to the function made no secret of their anger that their leader’s picture was not on the banner designed for the event. They raised slogans against the organizers of the function for ‘humiliating’ their leader.
Conjecture in political circles is that the two men do have a strained relationship. Yediyurappa was reportedly not too keen to induct his old friend into the Cabinet but was prevailed upon to do so by the central leadership of the BJP and RSS.
Recently there was some kite-flying that Yediyurappa would drop some senior ministers including Eshwarappa to appease some disgruntled MLAs. Eshwarappa has maintained distance from the chief minister since then, sources close to him said.
Eshwarappa’s son Kantesh, however, dismissed this notion. He explained that his father could not attend Yediyurappa’s birthday function as he had a prearranged programme at Shivamogga. There was no other reason for the absence, he clarified.
Ever since Yediyurappa returned to the BJP, things have not been too warm between him and those had remained in the party. Eshwarappa in particular is said to be wary of Yediyurappa’s hobnobbing with Siddaramaiah, who is a fellow Kuruba and therefore a claimant to leadership of the community. Something like a cold war has been going on between the old friends. This was not the first time that Eshwarappa has skipped a major function involving Yediyurappa. He’s done it before.