Karnataka suspense enters second week, people suffer

Karnataka suspense enters second week, people suffer

The state is hoping it will not have to wait another week to know if B.S. Yeddyurappa remains chief minister or if it will come under direct central rule.

The rallies by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and main opposition Congress started May 16, a day after Governor H.R. Bhardwaj recommended dismissal of the Yeddyurappa government, in response to the Supreme Court quashing the dismissal of 16 rebel legislators. The centre has not reacted to the report.

The BJP has been holding demonstrations in Bangalore and across the state demanding that the central government reject Bhardwaj's recommendation and also remove him from Karnataka.

The Congress has been countering the BJP with its rallies in support of Bhardwaj and seeking immediate central rule in the state.  But the suspense continues.

"Routine work in the secretariat (housed in the Vidhana Soudha in the heart of Bangalore) has not been affected, though several ministers have not been attending office," a senior official told IANS requesting anonymity. However, the official acknowledged that the absence of ministers in their offices "has hit people, particularly those who come from several parts of the state daily to the secretariat to meet them with some plea or other".

The wish of several people that IANS talked to was that governance should resume soon, with or without Yeddyurappa.

"I fervently hope for it, as Bangalore particularly needs urgent attention with monsoon two weeks away. The havoc created by pre-monsoon showers in the city is a pointer to the tough times ahead," said S.K. Sudhindra, a software engineer with a multinational IT firm.

The tech hub has been battered by frequent heavy rains since the third week of April,  which has flooded low lying localities, caused massive traffic jams and uprooted trees in many areas.

The sewerage system has become fragile in Bangalore. It takes more than half-an-hour for rain water to reach the main streams if rainfall is in excess of 50 mm in one hour, say city civic officials.

The Bangalore civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, is also ruled by the BJP and the corporators too are busy in rallies to save the Yeddyurappa government.

"I fear that rallies will not end even if Yeddyurappa remains, as BJP has announced that it will continue with them till Bhardwaj is recalled," said Uma Raghunath, a housewife.

"We people are ending up as sole losers in this political and legal battles," said M. Mallikarjun, a retired professor of history in Bangalore.

"It is almost seven years that Karnataka has not had a stable government. I am not sure that next (assembly) elections will result in a clear mandate, given the mudslinging going on," he said.

Since 2004, Karnataka has had three governments. There were two coalitions in four years, between 2004 and 2008.

After the May 2008 assembly polls, the BJP came to power for the first time in Karnataka with Yeddyurappa as chief minister. He has survived two serious bids by his party dissidents to unseat him. The third has ended in Bhardwaj seeking dismissal of his government.