Bangalore, March 17 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Thursday dismissed as “media speculation” reports that around 50 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators want him out in view of the continuing corruption and nepotism charges against him.
A group of ministers – V.S. Acharaya, S. Suresh Kumar and Murugesh Nirani – believed to be close to Yeddyurappa also called a press meet here in the morning to deny dissidence activity in the party against the chief minister.
The denial came after a flurry of activity in the BJP late Wednesday, with a group of ministers and legislators meeting state party chief K.S. Eshwarappa.
Also attending the meet was party general secretary and Lok Sabha member from South Bangalore H.N. Ananth Kumar, said to be a strong contender for the chief minister’s post.
A prominent minister who attended the meeting was mining baron and Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy, whose revolt in late 2009 had almost brought the Yeddyurappa government down.
Yeddyurappa was not called to the meeting at the party office in south Bangalore. The conclave broke up soon after chief minister reached the venue.
However, some of the ministers and legislators at that meeting later met at Eshwarappa’s residence, strengthening speculation that a move was on to replace Yeddyurappa in the light of new allegations against him and family members.
The late Wednesday activity in the ruling party followed three days of relentless attack by the opposition in the two houses of the legislature over the affairs of a private trust run by Yeddyurappa’s two sons, B.Y. Raghavendra and B.Y. Vijayendra.
Raghavendra is the BJP Lok Sabha member from Shimoga, about 280 km from Bangalore, where the trust runs educational institutions.
The Congress and Janata Dal-Secular claim that Yeddyurappa and his sons have made over Rs.27 crore in the last two years through the Prerana Educational and Social Trust by doling out favours to people donating to it.
Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the trust’s affairs, the two parties stalled the assembly and the council proceedings in the last three days. The two houses have adjourned indefinitely, assembly Wednesday and the council Thursday.
Yeddyurappa who initially said he was ready for a probe by any agency other than the CBI Wednesday ruled out any investigation.
The chief minister maintained Thursday that Wednesday’s meetings were only to discuss party strategy for April 9 bypolls in three assembly constituencies.
“The reports (of a signature campaign against him by party legislators) that have appeared in a section of the media arre far from truth. It’s a media creation,” Yeddyurappa said.
Eshwarappa and others who attended the meeting have declined to talk to the media.