From Bangalore Mirror:
Despite pressure to unseat him, BSY remains firmly rooted as he enjoys support of BJP high command, the RSS as well as religious mutts.
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has been caught up in a severe political storm kicked up by the Reddy brothers and a chunk of legislators in the last five days, threatening to sweep him off his feet (nay seat). Yet, Yeddyurappa has remained unscathed, all thanks to the BJP high command, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and scores of religious mutts across the state.
Yeddurappa, the Karnataka CM
The question being asked in political circles is: Why is the high command sticking with Yeddyurappa when the mining barons are adamant on his exit?
Bangalore Mirror explains the nitty-gritties involved.
LOSS OF IMAGE: It does not take much time for the high command to appease the Reddy brothers, but the price it will pay will be too much. A hardcore BJP man said, “Ours is a cadre-based party and we will be sending a wrong message to the workers by dumping Yeddyurappa, who has slogged for the party for more than three decades. We will be telling everyone that hardwork and commitment takes a backseat before money-bags by asking Yeddyurappa to go. BJP will be considered a loser by both its workers as well as the opposition parties, something it can’t afford at a time when the party is trying to up its popularity.
PAYBACK TIME: Though money-bags have been holding the government to ransom, RSS and Lingayat mutts have stepped in to support Yeddyurappa as it is time for some ‘reverse favour’. The mutts and other temples, which had been neglected by the previous governments, have been beneficiaries of the funds released by Yeddyurappa in his two budgets. These bodies have also received large tracts of land and benefited from government schemes. Not standing by Yeddyurappa’s side in his hour of crisis is doing ‘gross injustice’ to him, goes the talk in RSS and mutt circles.
TAMING THE MONSTER: Though the Reddy brothers claim they helped the party to victory by pumping in money during elections, many in the BJP felt they were turning out to be a ‘Frankenstein’ monster for the party. “Lobbies normally operate from outside the government, but in BJP’s case, the mining lobby became a part of the government,” said BJP’s Bangalore North MP D B Chandre Gowda. “The Reddy brothers have already displayed how ruthless they can get, they need to be stopped. In the party, only Yeddyurappa is capable of controlling them,” say BJP insiders.
REDDYS LOSING TURF: The Reddy brothers are no longer as powerful as they were two years ago. A pointer to this was the recent parliamentary elections where their candidates managed to win with a thin margin. BJP candidate J Shanthi from the Reddy group, managed to win by just 2,000 votes in Bellary, considered the stronghold of the Reddys. “There is a huge chunk of Lingayat population in each of the constituencies represented by the Reddy triumvirate and attacks on Yeddyurappa will only weaken their base. Moreover, the lack of political finesse among Reddy brothers has given them an image of an ‘arrogant lot and ‘fighter cocks in their home district. Allowing them to lead the party will prove disastrous in the long-run. Instead, it will be wise to continue with Yeddyurappa,” claim BJP insiders.
THE AFTER-EFFECTS: Will Yeddyurappa sit quietly after he is removed? That is a question that haunts the BJP more these days. Given the fact that he has succeeded in consolidating the Lingayat community, the after-effects of removing him could spell doom for the party. Moreover, he too has supporters in the BJP camp as he enjoys an umbilical-cord relationship with him as he has been there in the party since the beginning. An ordinary RSS or BJP worker would see Reddy brothers as mere businessmen. Moreover, removing Yeddyurappa will also allow the opposition parties to go high decibel in labelling the BJP as ‘a party with indiscipline’ and will lead to future threats (as both the UPA government and Governor H R Bhardwaj are monitoring the developments).
MLAS’ GROUSE IS MINOR: The BJP head-honchos are of the strong opinion that the current tussle is because of an ego clash between Yeddyurappa and the Reddys and the MLAs have no major reason to complain. “MLAs are with the Reddy brothers now because of cash, but there are many miners from Bellary who are capable of mobilising over Rs 1,000 crore in an hour’s time to save Yeddyurappa. The MLAs will come around as the grassroots-level BJP does not support them in the fight against Yeddyurappa,” BJP sources felt.
Shobha vs Shantha
Women’s wrestling has acquired a new dimension in Karnataka. While the CM is fighting it out with the Reddy brothers, another faction is giving them some competition. Shobha Karandlaje, the lone woman minister in the Karnataka government, has been accused of being the root cause of all trouble by K Shantha, sister of Health Minister Sreeramulu and Bellary MP. Not the one to take accusations lightly, Shobha has also lashed out.
At a press conference at Bellary, Shantha said: “In the government, Shobha is acting as the second CM and it is because of her attitude that MLAs have rebelled against the government. For all the dissatisfaction, she is the root cause.” She charged Shobha with triggering confusion in the party.
Though the CM jumped to Shobha’s defence by describing her as a ‘hard worker and efficient minister’, Shobha herself later hit back with a poser: “Where have I gone wrong that I should give resignation? Let them point out my shortcomings. I believe only one or two MLAs are conspiring against me and the media’s projection that most of the MLAs area against me is incorrect.”
CM passes on ‘jinxed’ Muzrai ball
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is making the rounds of various mutts and temples for ‘divine intervention’ to solve the current political crisis. But, he is in no mood to show the same interest while dealing with ‘God’s portfolio’.
In a surprise move on Saturday evening, the CM transferred the Muzrai portfolio to Home Minister Dr V S Acharya. Sources said the move “was a result of an astrologer’s advice, who said Yeddyurappa’s problems were mounting because he was holding the Muzrai portfolio.”
Muzrai has been a jinxed ministry for the ministers of Karnataka. From Vasanth Saliana to Nagaraja Shetty, whoever handled the portfolio tasted defeat in subsequent elections. In the current government, the then Muzrai minister Krishnaiah Shetty had to give up the ministry to accommodate V Somanna. It was not lucky for Somanna either, as he later lost miserably to a political novice in Govindarajanagar.
Ever since Somanna’s exit, Yeddyurappa was holding additional charge of Muzrai department and now, after the astrologer’s advice, he has hastilytransferred the ‘jinxed’ subject to his colleague.