BJP has taken back Bellary’s B Sriramulu. This is indeed a disappointing news for those who follow Karnataka politics closely. Sriramulu and Reddy brothers were the prime reason for the fall of the image of Yeddyurappa’s government in Karnataka, which gave a bad name to otherwise good governance of BJP in various states. Technically, Reddy brothers are not back in BJP because BSR Congress wasn’t allowed to merge with BJP. However, Sriramulu is their closest aide, and for all practical reasons, he represents them. I am indeed disappointed that BJP did not heed Sushma Swaraj’s opposition before inducting Sriramulu (knowing well that she was their benefactor all these years that led to the fall of the first BJP govt. in Karnataka). This was Sushmaji’s tweet:
This post is not about him. There are still a lot of questions asked about BJP taking back former CM BS Yeddyurappa into the party fold. But very few people have bothered to find out what exactly is the truth, and how he was victimized by a combination of party rivals aligned with Reddy brothers, Congress-appointed governor HR Bharadwaj, a motivated Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hedge wanting to make headlines as part of India Against Corruption movement, and a willing media to play up the propaganda.
Contrary to popular perception, Yeddyurappa has never been convicted by even a lower court. The Karnataka High Court, while dismissing the case against Yeddurappa, gave him as clean a chit as one could get (http://www.firstpost.com/politics/good-news-for-yeddyurappa-as-clean-a-chit-as-it-could-be-238196.html). It severely indicted Lokayukta for not just leaking the confidential report to the media in a motivated manner, but also violating all norms of “principle of natural justice” by not providing BSY an opportunity to defend himself, and pronouncing him guilty in press conferences. This caused incalculable damage to the public image of BSY, who is one of those very few politicians in the country who has built his/her non-existing party from the ground up for 40 years in the most hostile conditions before coming close to power, and still remains a committed grassroots politician to this day.
This well-researched article from Kiran Kumar, complete with High Court judgement, makes for an eye-opening read for those who only have a vague idea that BS Yeddyurappa is BJP’s equivalent of A Raja (2G) or Shiela Dikshit (CWG) or Manmohan Singh (CoalG). The author doesn’t give clean chit to Yeddyurappa on any pending case (if any), but only tackles the cases that forced BSY to be removed from CM’s chair and earned him nationwide rebuke.
The author tackles the following hard questions:
- Was BSY indicted by Lokayukta report on illegal mining in Karnataka? (No.)
- Then why did Yeddyurappa go to jail?
- What’s the latest finding on Hegde’s report? Was Lokayukta’s mistake responsible for Yeddyurappa’s resignation? (Yes.)
- Was Yeddyurappa the first Chief Minister of Karnataka to help the State control illegal mining? (Yes, he actually canceled mining licenses issued by SMK and HDK!)
- Did Lokayukta Hegde’s much publicised report stand any scrutiny in the High Court? (No.)
- Even if BSY is cleared of Lokayukta’s report related FIR, he still has other cases. Why did BJP let him in?
- If BSY was not guilty, why did media not report the junking of Justice Hegde’s biased report?
- Why did media treat Santosh Hegde as hero? (Because he was part of Anna movement that was media’s then heartthrob)
- Was Yeddyurappa wrongly painted as super corrupt by Indian media? (Yes, to equate a much cleaner BJP with Congress as part of a political conspiracy to dilute the effect for Congress.)
- Finally, what else should be said about BSY case?
BSY’s unfortunate fate is the tragedy in the making for media’s excessive, uncritical love towards 5-star activists who want to win popularity contests without hard-work, by calling every leader names. It can destroy a career of nearly 50 years within a matter of a few days. It is also a lesson to Indian public not to be “taken in” by the latest fantasy of the media.
Today, Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta has a conscience-pricking piece for Indian media willing to elevate anyone with a photogenic face but zero credentials to Mount Everest, only to drop them from there when a newer face looks shinier. It is a must-read on a day when the former media-darling Arvind Kejriwal has threatened to jail journalists.
To give you some history, during the height of Anna movement in 2011-12, Shekhar Gupta made a clean break from the rest of the media to question the movement. Most of his readers, including me, were taken aback by his repeated questioning of “holy grail” of anti-corruption plank of Team Anna. I remember writing a letter to him asking why he was speaking in UPA government’s voice.
Today, Shekjarji, you stand vindicated. You deserve my salute!
Postscript: Kejriwal said to our reporters a few times that The Indian Express was not a paper he bothered to read. He said this to one of our photographers too. But these are Indian Express photographers. So sure enough, they caught Kejriwal, while he sat on dharna, intently poring over what else but The Indian Express front page carrying a P. Chidambaram interview (by our editor, Mumbai, P. Vaidyanathan Iyer), where he regretted his party’s support to the AAP government. We used that on page one the next day. Could we have asked for a better compliment from Mr Kejriwal? His abuses, we can list on our CVs. With pride and joy.