By T S Sudhir
Dussehra is when Karnataka promotes its land aggressively. To woo everyone to head to Mysore for a dekko at the magnificently lit palace, caparisoned elephants, fireworks and the works.
This October, its honourable leaders are however, not leading by example. Out to `delete’ B S Yeddyurappa, they have `Esc’ Karnataka and are busy exploring `Incredible India’ in Goa, Pune, Mumbai, Kochi and Chennai. Ironic considering Karnataka’s tagline is `One state. Many worlds’ !
Yeddyurappa, furious with MLAs who have crossed the Laxman rekha of party discipline, crossed the line too. The Karnataka-Kerala border, to worship at three different temples in Kannur four days back.
Yeddyyurappa is reportedly not a stranger to the presiding deities of these shrines. He has been praying to them for the last 25 years and even offered an elephant at the Sree Raja Rajeswara Temple at Taliparamba in 2008.
Talk to any senior BJP functionary and they will tell you in private that the writing is on the Vidhana Soudha wall. The saffron party, which bragged about having breached south India through Karnataka, has itself been Bangalor-ed. President Obama’s Buffalo has company !
If the BJP says it did not see this coming, it is either lying or fooling itself. From day one in May 2008, when it came to power with 110 seats, three short of the magic figure of 113, it resorted to strengthening its government with as much muck as possible, perhaps interpreting `kamal to keechad me hi khilta hai‘ metaphor a bit too literally. With help from moneybags from Bellary, they encouraged support from independents and defections from the Congress and the JD(S), to ensure Yeddyurappa could sleep peacefully at night.
Many of the turncoats and independents were made ministers. Like sports and textiles minister G D Shekhar. Who, the moment, there was talk that he will be dropped from the ministry, lost his shirt and like a poor loser, threatened to commit suicide. Undeterred, Yeddyurappa dropped him last month.
Shekhar was however, right about the suicide part. Yeddy had indeed committed political suicide, which he realised only when rebel BJP and independent MLAs took flight.
Senior BJP functionaries admit they are fighting a losing battle. One of them who was “very optimistic” yesterday, described the situation this morning as “tough”. When I asked him why, he sheepishly admitted, “3 MLAs slipped away again”. Talk about one day being too long in politics !
Venkaiah Naidu blamed both the Congress and the JD(S) of adding fuel to the BJP fire. Other state leaders however interpret it differently.
“After all, we started it by encouraging their MLAs to defect, made them ministers. Which is why today many of our own BJP MLAs are angry with us.” Add to that, the unhappiness of many BJP leaders with the chief minister’s “brusque” style of functioning and it is clear no one in the lotus party is smelling of roses.
The BJP, not willing to go down without a fight, is banking on disqualifying some of the MLAs or nudging some Congress and JD(S) legislators to abstain. That may or may not work. Even if Yeddyurappa wins the game of numbers, his days as CM will be numbered. With little moral authority to govern to boot.
One option for the BJP is to replace its CM, given that much of the ammunition is directed at Yeddyurappa. Congress and JD(S) men are rubbing their hands in glee, confident the government will collapse and hope to join hands to form the next government.
“But neither you nor the JD(S) got the mandate to govern in 2008. So isn’t it a subversion of the people’s will,” I ask a Congress leader.
“We don’t have a choice,” he replies without batting an eyelid. Both parties sense an opportunity here, do not want to face elections and have therefore moved in for the kill.
My own sense is that a lot will happen between tonight and tomorrow morning. They say Iss raat ki subah nahi but I think it will be a new morning in Bangalore that may also bring in its wake a new low in Indian politics.
Karnataka’s political nataka in the last two years, has seen several re-runs with only minor changes in cast. The Bellary brothers, often playing the villains of the piece, this time are playing character roles, and are apparently trying to save the chief minister. Congressmen allege that is because it is also a question of their own survival.
Meanwhile, it is Kumaraswamy who, drawing from all his experience as a film producer, is scripting a thriller for Yeddy and the BJP.
Two years ago, a Karnataka, fed up with the `Congress, a party of leaders and no workers’ and `Deve Gowda & sons Pvt Ltd’ brought the BJP to power, hoping for better governance. Today, the man on the street will tell you he is disgusted with all the netas. He will tell you the administration is corrupt, the state’s image has taken a beating and how ashamed he is `we, the people of Karnataka’ elected such MLAs. And worse, he will have to choose from among the same lot, once again.
The MLAs know that too. A senior journalist on his facebook page today put the worth of the state assembly at 7000 crore rupees. He explained he had arrived at the figure by multiplying the strength of the House with what is allegedly being offered to vote for or against the government on Monday.
You can also find T S Sudhir’s blogs at http://www.thesouthreports.com
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