BJP’s messy Karnataka story set to continue (News Analysis)July 2nd, 2012 - 5:21 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, July 2 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Karnataka story has already left a bitter taste, not just in the state but across the country. Its maiden rule in the south has been a messy affair from the beginning four years ago.
The BJP is paying for being indecisive in acting firmly to stem the rot that has reduced its Karnataka foray into dissidence, corruption, illegal land deals and rampant casteism and some governance thrown in between.
The party’s national leadership, it is quite evident from its inaction, has been a divided house on how to tackle the Karnataka tangle.
The party has been so helpless that it has hesitated to allow its second chief minister in the state in four years, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, to fill 11 vacancies in his cabinet for several months.
Emboldened by this weakness, Gowda’s opponents, most of whom are loyal to former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who quit last July over mining bribery charges, have been attempting to remove him.
And nine ministers quit Friday in a “do or die” battle to oust Gowda and make Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar the chief minister. They followed it up Sunday by setting July 5 as deadline to accept their demand with a party Lok Sabha member Suresh Angadi “warning the high command that it will be responsible for the consequences after this date”.
Realising its wavering attitude will no longer pay, the BJP leadership, in Shettar’s words, “promised to consider the demand for leadership change in two or three days”.
Following this “promise”, Shettar announced Monday that the nine ministers were withdrawing the resignation and he and some of them will head to New Delhi later Monday for talks with the party leadership.
Now a patchwork job will be touted by the BJP as a solution to the frequent problem plaguing the party - who calls the shots in the Karnataka unit?
The papering over may see removal of Gowda, who took over last August from Yeddyurappa.
With his hopes of returning as chief minister dashed by the Supreme Court ordering the Central Bureau of Investigation into mining bribery charges, Yeddyurappa has been leading a campaign to remove Gowda, his handpicked man to succeed him last August.
He is using the caste card again, like he did in the May 2008 assembly elections. Belonging to the Lingayat community, which accounts for about 17 percent of the state’s 65 million population, Yeddyurappa claims that this caste group voted for BJP in 2008 because of him.
He is projecting another Lingayat, Shettar, to replace Gowda, a Vokkaliga, another politically influential caste group that makes up for about 16 percent of the state’s population.
Yeddyurappa is so desperate to get rid of Gowda that he has made up with Shettar, whom he did not want to make even a minister in 2008. Reason then was he feared Shettar emerging as another power centre to dispute his claim to be sole leader of the Lingayat caste group.
If Gowda’s supporters, who too have threatened to quit the ministry and the assembly to prevent his removal, stick to their stand, then Gowda may survive with Shettar being made deputy chief minister.
In the event of this “solution” not finding takers, the third option will be to make Shettar the chief minister, Gowda the state BJP chief and the present chief K.S. Eshwarappa, the deputy chief minister.
All these “solutions” will remain no more than papering over the deep divisions in the state unit as bickering will intensify with assembly elections due in just over nine months.
There is also talk of advancing the polls to December in the hope that that may be the best solution to the never ending problems in the Karnataka unit.
Irrespective of when the polls will be held, the BJP will set a record of beginning and ending its first shy at rule in the state on a poor note. And the state and its people have been losers in the bargain.
(V S Karnic can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Caste equation scores over clean administration in Karnataka (News Analysis) (Lead) - Jul 08, 2012
- Caste scores over clean administration in Karnataka (News Analysis) - Jul 08, 2012
- Jockeying for power in Karnataka delays leadership change - Jul 10, 2012
- Bitter caste battles grip Congress and BJP (Karnataka Newsletter) - Jun 22, 2012
- Shettar rose from ABVP and RSS ranks (Profile) - Jul 08, 2012
- Shock, disgust in Karnataka over BJP power struggle (Karnataka Newsletter) - Jul 13, 2012
- BJP replaces Gowda with Shettar in Karnataka (Roundup) - Jul 08, 2012
- Vokkaligas protest Gowda's removal in Karnataka - Jul 09, 2012
- BJP mulls replacing Karnataka chief minister to save government - Jul 03, 2012
- Karnataka BJP dissidents set July 5 deadline for CM's ouster - Jul 01, 2012
- Shettar is Karnataka's new chief minister (Evening Lead) - Jul 08, 2012
- Karnataka mess: BJP gambles on getting it right third time (News Analysis) - Jul 10, 2012
- Eight Yeddyurappa loyalists quit Karnataka ministry (Second Lead) - Jun 29, 2012
- Shettar is Karnataka's new chief minister (Second Lead) - Jul 08, 2012
- Gowda quits as Karnataka CM (Lead) - Jul 11, 2012
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