Crisis In Karnataka Blown Over
The political crisis in Karnataka in the last few days was blown over following election of senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader DV Sadananda Gowda as the new successor to outgoing Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa through a secret ballot in the legislature party meeting on August 3.
This reached an impasse following the resignation of Mr Yeddyurappa in the light of the Lokayukta’s indictment in connection with allowing illegal iron ore mining in Karnataka. The voluminous report, submitted by the Lokayukta last week, had led to a series of political developments leading to the resignation by the leader. An adamant Yeddyurappa dilly-dallied before submitting the resignation. Earlier, he had stuck to his stand that he be allowed to continue as Chief Minister by saying that he enjoyed the support of the majority of the legislators.
Mr Yeddyurappa’s tough posture took everyone in the party circles by surprise and kept the leaders in Delhi on tenterhooks for some time. Party top brass leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and party in-charge of Karnataka Dharmendra Pradhan rushed to Bengaluru to do the damage control exercise. After hectic parleys for two days, Mr Yeddyurappa agreed to step down with a condition that his confidante should be made his successor. The candidature of senior party leader Jagdish Shettar for the coveted post caused little worry to the party leaders who tried in vain to arrive at a consensus. Finally the battle lines were clearly drawn between supporters of Mr Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar. Janardhana Reddy, with the support of eight legislators, initially was seen with the Yeddyurappa camp but toed the line of party high command finally without identifying in any of these camps.
The election of Mr Sadananda Gowda has also brought to light the simmering discontent among the top leaders of the party in the state. It has also led to a thought that all is not well in the state party unit and if the rot was not stemmed in due course it might even lead to a bigger crisis in days to come. People in general have already felt that the party had failed to deliver administration as it was expected to.
The drama in the run-up to Gowda’s election as CM has exposed the faultlines in the BJP, a party which prided in discipline. Here’s a peek at the week
Thursday, July 28: BJP leaders meet in Delhi and “unanimously” decide Yeddyurappa should go after the Lokayukta recommends his trial for graft
Sunday: Yeddyurappa quits after holding out for three days, and after BJP tells him he and his men will be expelled. Party begins exercise to find successor but faces unexpected resistance for consensus
Monday: Top leaders work for next two days, while there is a showdown between rival camps of Yeddyurappa and Kumar, who props Shettar for CM post. The groups’ legislators stay in Bengaluru hotels and hold talks
Tuesday: Yeddyurappa offers bete noire Eshwarappa support so Shettar can’t be CM
Wednesday: Legislators’ meet to pick successor amid unruly scenes. Gowda wins the votes but the rebellion intensifies
The party, with much fanfare, was ushered into power as the first-ever BJP government in South India and the expectations from the people were very high. The general feeling in the minds of the people was that while the opposition parties did their best in not allowing Mr Yeddyurappa to discharge his duties effectively, the Chief Minister, too, on his part, devoted much of his time to mobilising support of legislators from rival political parties through “Operation Kamala” to ensure stability to his government. In the process, were various measures initiated by the first-ever BJP government in the South failed to impress upon the people about the achievements. Some prominent rival leaders alleged and went on record as saying that Mr Yeddyurappa had indulged in ‘caste politics’ by enlisting the support of various religious mutt heads of a dominant Lingayat community, to which he belonged and managed to remain in power.
The political fiasco, kicked up by the Lokayukta’s indictment of the Chief Minister on corruption charges, has also cast its shadow on the developmental activities with the bureaucrats being non-committal while discharging their duties following a political uncertainty that had prevailed in the state. Posting of as many as 50 top bureaucrats including some IAS officers was still awaiting their posting owing to administrative delays. Besides, a large number of projects related to the state were also awaiting clearance from the centre.
The recent political developments also had its effect on the general public. A cross section of people felt that the first ever BJP government should have functioned in a more effective manner instead of indulging in “purchase of MLAs from other political parties”. Dinesh Kumar, a software company employee, when asked confessed that though he did not give much importance to politics, he felt Mr Yeddyurappa should have stepped down immediately after the Lokayukta submitted his report to the state government Chief Secretary SV Ranganath. But Vasanth Kumar, a government employee, had a different view on the whole developments. He endorsed the stand taken by Mr Yeddyurappa and said that there was nothing wrong with Mr Yeddyurappa insisting that a person of his choice should be made the new Chief Minister so that the unfinished tasks could be completed with the like mindedness.
But a majority of the Bangaloreans heaved a sigh of relief that Mr Yeddyurappa chose to take out a padayatra from his residence to Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation on Sunday, being a holiday.
Be that as it may, the high political drama has led to a change of guard and the people have pinned hopes on the new set up with regard to implementation of various welfare measures. Time alone can tell whether the new dispensation will succeed in its venture.
By BS SHANTARAM from Bengaluru