Leaders seek expulsion of Yatnal as BJP deems his corruption allegations “damage to party dignity”

Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, a former Union minister and a known bête noire of BS Yediyurappa, has accused his own government of ₹40,000 crore misappropriation.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 28, 2023 | 1:02 PMUpdatedDec 28, 2023 | 9:18 PM

MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal Karnataka BS Yediyurappa Covid Corona Management Corruotion Rs 40,000 crores

BJP has deemed as “damage to dignity of party” the allegations of MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal on ₹40,000 crore mismanagement in Covid-19-related procurement under party veteran BS Yediyurappa’s tenure as the chief minister.

In a meeting of newly-appointed office-bearers, sources from the BJP said that leaders urged state president BY Vijayendra to recommend Banasagouda Patil Yatnal’s expulsion from the party.

“In the two-hour long meeting on Wednesday, almost an hour went into discussing how Yatnal’s remarks against BS Yediyurappa were unacceptable. Leaders unanimously agreed that the State President should write to central leaders of the BJP and recommend Yatnal’s expulsion from the party,” a source from the meeting told South First.

The leaders are said to have deemed Yatnal a “Congress stooge” in the closed doors meeting and insisted on taking a delegation to the BJP high command to seek his expulsion. Yatnal, a Lingayat leader is infamous for his jibes at BS Yediyurappa and his family.

BJP leaders vie for action against Yatnal 

Karnataka BJP General Secretary P Rajeev, on Wednesday, 27 December, said that the party has taken note of “certain recent developments” and would not tolerate any activities that cause damage to its dignity.

Responding to a question on Yatnal’s statement, Rajeev said, without taking any names, that all recent developments in the party were discussed at length during the Karnataka BJP office-bearers’ meet held on Wednesday under the leadership of state president BY Vijayendra.

He added that the leaders would take appropriate decisions on the matter.

“Indoor discussions cannot be disclosed. What I can say is that the party will not tolerate any activities that cause damage to its dignity. Serious discussions have happened between four walls and our central leadership will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time,” he told reporters in Bengaluru.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Kota Shrinivas Poojari, too, in response to a question on Yatnal’s statement, said that the state president and central leaders are keeping watch on party discipline and activities of all leaders, and appropriate decisions will be taken at an appropriate time.

Senior BJP leader and former chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda questioned why the BJP leadership has not yet take any action against those indulging in indiscipline.

Yatnal, a former Union minister and a known bête noire of BS Yediyurappa, has been publicly making allegations against the veteran leader and his son Vijayendra for some time now. He had even openly criticised the party’s decision to appoint Vijayendra as its state president.

Related: Yatnal accuses BS Yediyurappa government of Covid-19-linked scam

The allegations

Yatnal, known for making controversial remarks, told reporters in Vijayapura on Tuesday, 26 December, that face masks priced ₹45 a piece were billed at ₹485 during peak Covid-19 period. He accused the then BS Yediyurappa government of Rs 40,000 crores misappropriation.

He also alleged that the BJP government under Yediyurappa took beds on rent at a higher rate.

“These 10,000 beds were taken on rent. One bed was rented out for ₹20,000 per day. We could have purchased two beds and other necessary items (for this price). Do you know the expenses they have incurred daily during Covid-19?” Yatnal asked reporters.

When asked for evidence, he said that it was with the PAC (Public Accounts Committee). “HK Patil, who is currently the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, was then the PAC chairman,” he said.

“Why was CC Patil (the BJP’s Nargund MLA) made the chairman of PAC? They asked me (to take up this post) and I told them I would expose everything. Hence, I was not made (the chairman),” Yatnal claimed.

He also alleged that hospitals charged more during the Covid-19.

Congress demands evidence

Following Yatnal’s allegation, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah appealed to the Vijayapura City MLA to submit evidence in support of his claim to the Nagamohan Das Committee, which was set up on 26 August this year to probe the “40 percent commission” charges levelled against the BJP regime by the Karnataka State Contractors’ Association.

“Yatnal should not do a hit-and-run job. If he is committed to eradicating corruption, he should take the charges to their logical conclusion. For this, he should hand over all the information he has about corruption during Corona to the commission of inquiry formed under the headship of retired Justice Nagamohan Das,” Siddaramaiah opined

Based on the allegations made by the PAC of the 15th Legislative Assembly in 2021, the Siddaramaiah government also constituted an inquiry commission led by Justice (Retd) John Michael D’Cunha in August to probe the irregularities in Covid-19-related procurements.

Karnataka IT Minister Priyank Kharge, too, said that Yatnal should at least hand over the details to the Justice John Michael Cunha Commission of Inquiry to probe into the Covid-19-related irregularities.

“If you (Yatnal) are not interested in handing it over to the Commission, then share it with the media because it is a ₹40,000 crore scam. There is no humanity if they (the previous BJP government) made money from corpses,” Kharge said reacting to BJP MLA’s statement.

(With PTI inputs)