BSY adds to BJP’s endless woes, can it turn around by 2014?

Published on Jun 30 2012 // Political News

The BJP government in Karnataka found itself in a serious trouble after eight ministers loyal to the former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa called it quits on Friday night. The BSY loyalists handed over their resignation to Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, whom they want to remove from the office. Through their resignation, BSY and his team were also trying to pressurise the central leadership of the party to give in to their demand. Another minister would resign on Saturday, informed CM Udasi, the PWD minister and one of the rebels.

The dissenting leaders have had a troubled relation with the CM for the past few months and according to the rebels, Gowda even did not arrange for a legislature party meeting despite being asked. Gowda was clearly not the choice of the dissenting MLAs. That a major crisis was in the making in the afternoon was evident when a leader from the BSY camp indicated that the MLAs would resign by afternoon.

The crisis precipitated within 24 hours of the BJP’s central leaders asking the CM not to go to New Delhi to discuss the issue, including a probable change of leadership in the state government. The leadership was clearly trying to buy time but BSY had other plans. The dissenting camp asked the top leadership to arrive at a decision of changing the leadership at the earliest but the latter clearly said that there was no possibility of a change, at least till the end of the Presidential polls due next month, for Gowda was doing a ‘commendable job’ as the CM.

Sources in Karnataka BJP said both pro-Gowda and anti-Gowda forces were at play and it was difficult to settle the issue decisively. The pro-Gowda camp, too, has threatened to quit if the incumbent CM was removed, which would endanger the government. The first BJP government in Karnataka and south India has just completed four years but the joy of nearing its tenure has been eclipsed an ugly squabble.

BSY has been a thorn for Karnataka BJP

Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat strongman, was the first BJP chief minister of the state but was removed from the top post following his indictment in illegal mining scam. It is ever since then that the government has been facing relentless crisis. BSY has been sulking ever since he was removed from the CM’s office on Jul 31 last year and has ultimately declared an open war against his own party. He has attacked Gowda, who was handpicked by himself once, calling the latter a ‘traitor’. BSY was particularly angry with Gowda for the latter allegedly did not vacate the office for him six months after assuming office, it is learnt.

BSY’s designs corner BJP

Finding it increasingly difficult to regain the lost office, BSY has decided to push for one of his loyalist, Jagadish Shettar, the rural development and panchayati raj minister and also a Lingayat, as the CM candidate. BSY, although said that he was not quitting the party keeping in mind the request made to him by legislators and senior party leaders like Arun Jaitley, but in reality, he knows very well that the BJP leadership is quite helpless before his opportunistic designs.

The BJP would have welcomed BSY’s decision to quit the party and utilise the remaining period before the next assembly polls to manage the mess and project a new Lingayat leader to nullify the rebel leader. But BSY, a seasoned Lingayat politician, is rooted on a strong electoral ground and would not be satisfied with anything less than executive power, direct or indirect. Even if one of his loyalists is placed in the CM’s office, it would give enough opportunity to BSY to pull the strings from behind, which might not augur well for the party. For, BSY is a tainted politician and in the future he is convicted by the court, the party would be left red-faced and the consequences could be disastrous for the 2014 national elections.

Showering praise on Sonia

The other problem with the rebel politician is that he has, of late, revealed a tilt towards the Congress by showering praise on Sonia Gandhi and the unity in the former. He said the BJP was lacking such a unity, something which would surely place the top brass in an uncomfortable zone. But it could do little for again, BSY is said to have a strong local support and could engineer a major split. That could prove a fatal blow for the BJP in south India, something the Congress has been experiencing in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Whether within the party or outside, BSY would hand out a major jolt to the BJP, that’s for sure. The incumbent CM will also continue, if he remains the office-holder, to feel the pressure for he would know that most of his colleagues in the government are against him.

BSY tilting towards Congress?

Inside sources said the BJP leader had reached a secret understanding with the Congress, the rival party, in the state and was playing an instrumental hand to bring down the BJP government. BSY’s followers might deny such a deal shaping up, but the meeting between Congress leaders and a Karnataka state minister, known to be a key aide of BSY, held in New Delhi last week is testimony to the fact that behind-the-veils understanding were indeed taking place. Close observers felt while BSY would try to bring down the BJP government and necessitate early polls, the Congress could accommodate him and his supporters.

Will he float a new party?

However, another theory suggested that BSY was not too keen to join the Congress for the latter, too, was ridden by factionalism. The local Congress leaders were also not entertaining the idea of BSY joining their party much. Emerging the CM via the Congress route might not be an easy formula for BSY, either. Another option for BSY would be to float a new party, just as YSR Jaganmohan Reddy had done in AP.

It may be mentioned here that BSY had even launched a political outfit in Haveri in central Karnataka by the name of Kannada Makkala Paksha earlier this year through Ashok Kheny, an entrepreuner. BSY could choose to play ally to the Congress in the polls. The Congress would also want a reliable partner to fulfill its ambition of capturing power in Karnataka. BSY loyalists presume such a situation would be beneficial more and were looking to see their leader come out with a clean image over the corruption slur.

BJP in a shambles: 2014 looks a distant dream

The BJP has been facing serious issues both within the party and the NDA alliance. The party struggled to convince many of its allies over backing a consensus candidate for the presidential polls. It’s plan to minimise gap with UPA ally like Trinamool Congress or Samajwadi Party in terms of the presidential candidate nomination did not click. Allies like JD(U) and Shiv Sena did not support the party’s choice for the presidential poll, P A Sangma.

Then there has been a serious difference over the probable prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections. JD(U) chief and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has expressed his strong reservations against the candidature of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi as the NDA’s PM candidate. This issue has not been settled yet and will be a tough nut to crack for the senior NDA ally. Both Modi, who has a good RSS backing, and Kumar, who is a strong force in Bihar, are key for the BJP and the NDA and it has to be seen how the party tackles the alliance crisis. Nitish isn’t a Sanjay Joshi for sure.

And of course, we have the endless power struggle within the party. The patriarch, L K Advani’s disapproval of the party’s way functioning recently, and the RSS’s interference in the party’s functioning hasn’t helped things. Party president Nitin Gadkari’s second successive term was not liked by certain quarters. Modi might be the most popular face in the party but yet he has to go some distance to attain the magic that Vajpayee wielded.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the BJP is that it hasn’t succeeded in extending its geographic reach and groom regional leaders into national faces. Its appeal on subjects like Ram Temple, anti-minorityism or anti-Pakistan have lost their edge, particularly among the middle-classes and both the 2004 and 2009 elections have proved that the party urgently needs a broad base and a viable leadership at the helm. The serious flaws in the leadership have been proved by the national party’s meek surrender to a regional power-monger BSY. Can the BJP lead an intact NDA and wrest power from a brittle UPA in 2014?

source by thatstelugu


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