BJP on Sunday tried to hush up the controversy that erupted following Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj’s charges on the ‘real mentors’ of Karnataka’s Reddy brothers, a day after party President Nitin Gadkari defended her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley.
“There are no two camps, there is no rift within the party,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters on Sunday. She dismissed the differences over the Bellary brothers as “perceived.”
However, by holding a clutch of top party leaders ‘responsible’ for the clout that the Reddy brothers enjoy, Swaraj may have isolated herself within the party. This is not the first time that Gadkari has openly snubbed Swaraj. Less than three months ago, he had backed Jaitley’s political line in Parliament on the CVC issue.
Gadkari had said that for the BJP, the matter following the resignation of the Central Vigilance Commission was “not closed,” as tweeted by Swaraj. Swaraj in an interview to a weekly washed her hands of Reddy brothers – Janardhan, Karunakar and Somasekhara – and hinted that Jaitley and other BJP leaders had a role in inducting them into the Karnataka cabinet. Gadkari responded to this by saying, “any debate about the choice of ministers in the Karnataka government at this stage in the media is totally unnecessary.”
Swaraj, considered in political circles as the patron of the Reddy brothers, had said she had nothing to do with their political status and that when they were made ministers, Jaitley was in-charge of political affairs in Karnataka, BS Yeddyurappa the Chief Minister and Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar central observers.
Swaraj also said she was opposed to three members of a family being made ministers “but they had some political compulsions which made them appoint the brothers.”
Gadkari, in his statement, said Yeddyurappa had selected his team in consultation with the party’s central and state leaders. Without naming anyone in his statement, the party president said there was no question of any individual or individuals influencing this process.
The row within the party has come out in the open less than a week ahead of the meeting of the BJP’s national executive in Lucknow . It was just around a fortnight ago that BJP leaders were pleased about a “cordial atmosphere” within the party, which came to the fore during a meeting of the core group here.
According to party leaders, there was a positive change even among the disgruntled elements. Economic Times