Prez poll: Yeddyurappa rubs salt into BJP wounds in Karnataka

From Right: Karnataka CM Jagadish Shettar, former CMs yeddyurappa and Sadananda Gowda.

BANGALORE: Rubbing salt into the wounds of BJP, smarting from cross-voting by some of its MLAs in the Presidential poll, party strongman B S Yeddyurappa today said Pranab Mukherjee should have been elected unanimously and consensus eluded due to lack of foresight and divergent views.

His statement in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly as members congratulated Mukherjee created a flutter in the BJP, coming a day after the poll in which 14 BJP MLAs cross-voted in favor of the UPA’s Presidential candidate.

“All parties should have come together and there should have been a thinking to elect him unanimously but because of lack of foresight, difference in opinion and other reasons, the election became inevitable,” said Yeddyurappa, who recently virtually forced the BJP central leadership to make his nominee Jagadish Shettar the Chief Minister.

The former Karnataka Chief Minister also made a strong appeal to the BJP-led NDA’s losing candidate Purno A Sangma to refrain from “misadventure” of approaching the Supreme Court.

Sangma yesterday did not rule out moving court on the election, saying its process was “exceptionally partisan” and alleging that the non-UPA ruled states were lured with packages and inducements and even given threats.

“I appeal to Sangma and also through this House (the Assembly) not to resort to such a misadventure. The world is watching us. It does not behoove anybody. It does not bring pride to anybody. I will also write a letter to Sangma (against approaching SC),” Yeddyurappa said.

Mukherjee should have got support of 103 MLAs – 71 of Congress, 26 of JDS and six independents – but secured 117 votes in Karnataka as against 103 by Sangma despite the ruling BJP having 119 MLAs. Three votes were declared invalid.

Yeddyurappa heaped praise on Mukherjee, saying he is a “rare personality” after former Presidents Rajendra Prasad, S Radhakrishnan and A P J Abdul Kalam.

After the UPA cleared Mukherjee’s name, Yeddyurappa said he personally favored his candidature but made it clear he would toe the party line (on Sangma’s candidature). Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah (Congress) also congratulated Mukherjee on his election, praising his in-depth knowledge on a wide variety of issues and astuteness as a Parliamentarian and in various positions he held in the government.

Siddaramaiah also taunted the BJP, noting that Mukherjee had secured votes from the ruling party in Karnataka.

Earlier, U T Khadar (Congress) suggested to Speaker K G Bopaiah that a resolution be adopted in the Assembly to congratulate Mukherjee.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar initially said it would not be proper to take such a step before the swearing-in, but Siddaramaiah said he saw no wrong.

Kumar later said he would have no objection if it is done before Mukherjee formally assumes charge. -PTI