The veteran BJP leader from Udupi, is someone who has a clear perception of party affairs in Karnataka and does not mind speaking the truth though at times, he gives the impression of being stubborn. In an interview with Deccan Chronicle, Dr Acharya spoke about the crisis in the party, possible solutions and the controversial bill pertaining to the endowment department.
Q: Some leaders including state BJP president K.S. Eshwarappa and Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda have admitted to problems in the party. According to you, what are the problems? If I am right, the problem is very simple. Party central leaders have told B.S. Yeddyurappa (former chief minister) to come clean in all the cases pending against him. They have told him that he cannot hold any post while facing charges. If he heeds this, everything will be sorted out.
But the situation does not look simple. Mr Yeddyurappa says that he has not demanded any post, nor does he want any. Yet, his supporters keep meeting at his residence to demand his political rehabilitation. Is groupism not affecting the BJP? I do not think so. There is nothing wrong in legislators and a few ministers meeting and demanding a fitting post for Mr Yeddyurappa in the party. All they are doing is expressing their opinion because BSY is a popular leader of the BJP. I feel it will only strengthen the party. Nor do I think their utterances in public will harm the party. Now that they have expressed their views, they should leave the matter to the party leadership and remain silent as disciplined soldiers of the party. Mr Yeddyurappa also seems to have reconciled to the idea that the party leadership will take care of his interests which is why he said he will function as an ordinary worker and not harm the party.
The situation seems so serious that ministers including home minister R. Ashok had to go to New Delhi and meet central leaders. Comment.
Do you know that whenever I go to New Delhi, I will not return without meeting Advaniji? Mr Ashok is the home minister. During his visit to New Delhi, he might have met party leaders. When we meet our national leaders, they are sure to ask us and obtain inputs on the situation in Karnataka. This helps them take decisions if need be, in future.
But, the differences in the party seem to be hitting the state hard. Ministers owing allegiance to Mr Yeddyurappa do not seem interested in attending office and redressing people’s problems. Take the case of public works minister, C.M. Udasi. He has come under severe criticism.
Mr Udasi is a senior minister and works very hard. The status of bad roads need not reflect on his style of functioning. There may be many other factors responsible like the allocation of funds and rules governing clearance of projects. He has to adhere to rules while implementing works. He might have expressed his allegiance to Mr Yeddyurappa because, he was made a Cabinet minister by BSY. That does not mean he has neglected his work. All our ministers are working hard. Some people have created a wrong impression about me too. They said my ill health is affecting my performance. It is unfortunate that the media is not interested in giving the right news.
Moving on to departmental issues, one of the bills of your department was defeated in the Legislative Assembly. Do you plan to bring the bill back in the same form or will you introduce an amended version in the next session?
I will introduce the bill in the Legislative Council and get it passed before presenting it in the Assembly again. I do not know why people think it was I who proposed the bill. The contentious clause which some legislators referred to, was not introduced by me. It was part of the original legislation in which law makers had used a group of words: "temple pertinent to maths". During the court case, the judges scrutinised these words and wanted the government to clarify on it. So the government brought an amendment in the last session. I have not changed the motive of the original legislation which had excluded temples governed by maths from government scrutiny. The contentious clause was part of the legislation for the past 14 years. I am bringing an amendment with a clarification as suggested by the court.