BJP’s endless squabbles lead to poll talk (Karnataka Newsletter)

July 7th, 2012 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 7 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party, particularly its patriarch L. K. Advani, is a strong advocate of fixed tenure for legislatures to avoid pre-term elections. However his party’s waiting game over ending the infighting in its ruling Karnataka unit is making his own partymen in the state pine for assembly polls ahead of term.

Such has been the frequency of dissidence and corruption and other scandals in the last four years of the party’s first government in the state that making fun of BJP has become the hallmark of more and more people’s reaction to the sordid happenings.

The naughty among the people have taken to play on what BJP can stand for in Kannada, the language of the overwhelming majority of the state’s 65 million people. “What is the latest from the ‘Bari Jagala Party’ (Kannada for party of only infighting) or the ‘Bari Jollu Party’ (brittle or empty),” is how people have begun to refer to the BJP.

The squabbles and statements of various BJP ministers and law makers that every party has such problems are being treated as providing free entertainment to the people.

But slowly, exhaustion is seeping in among BJP law makers themselves as they realize they have become a laughing stock and winning the next elections will not be easy, though the main opposition parties, the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular, are also not in great shape.

The party’s second chief minister in four years, D. V. Sadananda Gowda, whose departure from the post appears imminent, Thursday gave vent to the wide-spread exasperation at the BJP national leaders’ prevarication.

“It is better if our central leaders end the confusion (over whether I will continue or be removed) early. People are not interested in our problems like who will occupy which chair. They are concerned only with good governance. If this crisis persists the people will reject us,” Gowda, who will complete one year in office Aug 4, told reporters in Bangalore.

The assembly polls are due next May and the talk in political circles is that they may take place this year-end.

Gowda is likely to be replaced by Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar, most probably next week, as the assembly is to meet July 16 to pass the budget for 2012-13.

Shettar is being propped up by BJP’s first chief minister in the state B.S. Yeddyurappa, who was forced out office last July over mining bribery charges. Yeddyurappa had then opposed Shettar’s bid to succeed him and had insisted on Gowda taking over from him.

Now he has come full circle and is forcing the BJP national leaders to do his bidding again, holding out various threats, not publicly of course, like voting for the ruling United Progressive Alliance presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee in the July 19 polls, seeking separate seats for himself and his followers in the assembly and the like.

Last Friday Shettar and eight other ministers submitted their resignations from the ministry, forcing the party’s national leaders to agree to a leadership change.

“People are laughing at us because of the frequent squabbles. It is better to go for early elections,” state BJP spokesperson and assembly member C.T. Ravi has been saying for several weeks now.

The Congress and JD-S too have been demanding immediate polls, saying governance as well as the image of the state has taken a severe beating from the ruling party’s scandals and squabbles.

However, the BJP, which expects early Lok Sabha polls and talks of being confident to form the next government at New Delhi, is clearly hesitant to go for early elections in Karnataka.

The reason for the reluctance is evident - at the national level, it can be in attacking mode against corruption in the UPA regime, in Karnataka it will be nothing more than convoluted defence in the face of continuing scandals and indiscipline of its state unit.

(V.S. Karnic can be contacted at vs.karnic@ians.in)

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