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No rift between Sushma, Jaitley: Rajnath

New Delhi: In an apparent bid to play down the controversy over Sushma Swaraj’s remarks on Reddy brothers, former BJP chief Rajnath Singh today said all decisions related to Karnataka, including appointment of Arun Jaitley as in-charge of the state, had his consent.

“Reports of a rift between Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are baseless. This is true that Arun was in-charge of Karnataka. I had sent him there as I was president (of BJP) and there were chances of a controversy during Cabinet formation,” Singh said.

He also accepted that in 2009, when the Reddy brothers revolted against Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, he had sought the services of Swaraj to talk to the mining barons to end the crisis.

Swaraj had claimed in an interview to a weekly that she was asked to talk to the Reddy brothers and convince them to give up their demand for Yeddyurappa’s removal.
Singh also said he had made Jaitley Karnataka in-charge and all decisions taken by the central leadership at that time had his consent.

Swaraj had alleged that the decision to give cabinet berths to Janardhan and Karunakar Reddy was taken by Jaitley and senior leaders M Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar.
She maintained that she had not acted as the protector of the Reddy brothers and had “no role in the political making” of the mining magnates. In fact, she emphasised that she was opposed to three members of a family finding berths in the cabinet. The third Reddy brother – Somashekhar – has ministerial status.

Singh said Swaraj and Jaitley had consulted among themselves during the 2009 crisis and he too had given consent to the decisions taken.

“If responsibility is to be fixed then it should be fixed on me as I was the president. There were some political compulsions due to which some decisions had to be taken (during cabinet formation). It was going to be our first government in the South with BJP having a clear majority. We wanted to form a Karnataka-friendly government,” he said.

BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad maintained that Swaraj has also stated in the interview that she agrees with Jaitley on most issues and hence there were no differences.

“You read the interview carefully. She has also said that I have good relations with Arun Jaitley. We are in agreement on 95 to 99 per cent issues,” Prasad said.

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