The constant presence of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s younger son, BY Vijayendra has not just given ammunition for the opposition for accusations of nepotism but also has caused a rift within Karnataka BJP.
Pictures of a meeting regarding Bangalore infrastructure development attended by BMRDA officials, Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan and civic experts where Vijayendra too was present has once again raised questions of his legitimacy in attending such meetings without even being an elected representative.
Right after the controversy erupted, Vijayendra took to social media to put out tweets in his defense. "I participated as a common citizen of the city in a discussion hosted by BPAC in Bangalore along with friends like RK Mishra and Prashant Prakash of United Way and traffic experts from London. The meeting was attended by a number of top officials, experts and active citizens including the Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan. There was a discussion about measures to be taken to address the traffic problem in Bangalore city," he said.
But far from putting the allegations to rest, his justification only fuelled it further with many on social media demanding to know how many ‘common citizens’ of Bengaluru who have been far more involved in the improvement of Bengaluru infrastructure would have been allowed to be part of such official discussions, if they were not the Chief Minister’s son.
The deputy chief minister too tried to downplay the episode and claimed that the meeting was not an official one and there was nothing wrong in Vijayendra being present there. But the opposition has, time and again, accused Yediyurappa of running a parallel power center.
This is not the first time Vijayendra has participated in an official discussion to which he would otherwise have no access. And many within the BJP too have noticed and objected to this. Close associates of the Chief Minister believe that this is his way of rebelling and forming a protective shield around himself in the government after he was forced to include three deputy chief ministers in his cabinet, a move that the BJP veteran perceives as undermining his authority.
Yediyurappa’s previous rocky tenure as Chief Minister too was marred with allegations of nepotism with complaints of his sons’ involvement in government decisions being an apple of discord with others in the BJP. This time, the BJP high command had reportedly made it clear to Yediyurappa that he has to keep his sons at bay.
But with Laxman Savadi being propelled as a Lingayat leader for the BJP to consolidate the vote bank in the Mumbai-Karnataka region, sources close to Yediyurappa claim that he is anxious not just about his own position as Chief Minister but also the political future of his sons.