Karnataka’s BJP government completes 100 days Tuesday

September 8th, 2008 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Sep 8 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first government in the south completes 100 days in office in Karnataka Tuesday with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa claiming “90 percent success” in implementing election promises and the opposition charging it with zero achievement.”There will be celebration tomorrow. Functions will be held in all the (29) districts where beneficiaries of government programmes will gather,” state BJP spokesperson Dhananjaya Kumar, a former MP, told IANS.

Yeddyurappa took over as chief minister May 30 after helping his party win 110 of the 225 seats in the assembly. The BJP managed a majority with the help of six independent legislators, five of who became cabinet ministers.

Several major problems confronted the government in the fist 100 days — and their handling has led to more controversies.

Within days of taking office in the name of god and the farmer, Yeddyurappa faced farmers’ protests over fertilizer shortage. One such protest turned violent in the north Karnataka district of Haveri, resulting in the death of two people in police firing.

The monsoon has been erratic, particularly in north Karnataka, a stronghold of the BJP, leading to long hours of power cuts, including in the state capital and India’s tech hub Bangalore.

The government is also under fire from opposition and others for its decision to hand over some government-controlled temples to heads of maths perceived to be close to BJP.

One such temple is in Gokarna in north Karnataka district of Uttara Kannada. Priests managing the temple have protested the government move, which has also been criticised by the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular.

The latest controversy is the government decision to issue notices to Christian-run educational institutions for closing them down for a day in late August to protest against attacks on Christians in Orissa.

Education Minister Vishwanath Hegde Kageri has justified his decision, saying these institutions had not taken permission of his department to close the schools and colleges for a day.

Christian organisations, the Congress and the JD-S have strongly criticised the government decision and called for withdrawing the notice.

A major political gain for Yeddyurappa was “Operation Lotus” (Lotus is the BJP symbol) to win over legislators from the Congress and JDS to strengthen his position in the legislature.

The operation resulted in five JD-S and three Congress legislators joining the BJP. They have resigned from the assembly to avoid action under the anti-defection law. Four of them have been made ministers and others accommodated as heads of government boards and corporations.

Yeddyurappa has now kept in abeyance the operation as opposition to it grew within the BJP because new entrants were being rewarded with ministerial berths, ignoring long-serving party loyalists.

Among the major poll promise implemented is free power to farmers with up to 10 HP irrigation pumpsets. However, the farmers will have to clear pending power bills over a period of two years to benefit from the scheme.

On Monday, the JD-S organised rallies in Bangalore and other district headquarters to highlight Yeddyurappa government’s ‘all-round failure’ — except in winning over opposition legislators with cabinet berths and other plum positions.

Former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy led his party activists in a procession from the party office to Raj Bhavan, about three kilometres away, as part of the state-wide protest.

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