In DVS test, BSY legacy gets 'fail' marks

In DVS test, BSY legacy gets 'fail' marks

Gowda, for sure, is not signaling to distance himself from his backer and party strongman Yeddyurappa. Yet, he is very clear that the previous dispensation’s negative image is not something that his administration can afford to associate itself with, if it has to have any chance regain lost ground.

So, in the course of a nearly hour-long interaction with senior journalists here on Tuesday, Gowda sought to make a subtle attempt to distance his seven-week-old government from the badly bruised record of the Yeddyurappa dispensation. There was, though, no signal in it of any disloyalty to the party strongman. It is a delicate balancing act on the part of the new chief minister—swear by the leader but disown his
legacy.

“So far we got fail marks,” Gowda said about the BJP government’s performance over the past three years. That is quite a bold statement to make, as Gowda left little doubt that his comfort level in the hot seat will continue to vitally depend on Yeddyurappa’s political support.

The chief minister, who appeared to have made an assessment of the situation he faces within the party and the government, said his task was to change the dented image. “My challenge is to rebuild the party’s image and improve the government’s administrative machinery.”

He wants to ensure that the “failed” ruling party, gets decent pass marks under him. “I am not aiming for 80 per cent. It is all right if I can get 45-50 per cent,” Gowda said. Can he undo the damage done to the image over the last three years in the two years that the party gets to rule in the state? “I am sure I can do it in six months through our conduct.”

Asked if he can achieve his objective with the same group of ministers who had served under Yeddyurappa, Gowda said he would lead by example. From an abysmal 17 per cent earlier, the attendance of ministers in their office has improved to 52 per cent in recent weeks, he claimed.

Over the next two days, Gowda will be campaigning in Koppal for the ensuing assembly by-election. Winning the by-election is very important for the party, although the chief minister did not think the outcome of the first poll test since he took charge was as important to his leadership position.

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