Election the last thing on BJP's mind now

The saffron party is on the back foot after the latest episode

The State BJP, which was gearing up to launch itself into election mode, is now speechless and faceless following the porngate scandal.

The party is yet to convene a meeting to discuss the fallout of the episode that cost three ministers their jobs. The State BJP office in Malleswaram, always a beehive of activity, wore a deserted look on Thursday. Except Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, no senior leader faced the media.

The three tainted ministers - Lakshman Savadi, C C Patil and Krishna Palemar - remained in Bangalore. They are likely to leave for their constituencies only after replying to the show cause notices issued by the Speaker on why they should not be barred from attending the proceedings of the House. The Speaker has set a February 13 deadline for them to reply. 
Patil remained closeted with his advocate. B P Harish and a few other legislators called on Savadi at the latter’s residence. The party has cancelled its division-level programmes in Belgaum and Bijapur on February 11, but is going ahead with the programme to launch lift irrigation projects and other development works in Athani on February 16. Savadi is the MLA from Athani. 
Numbers intactNumbers are no longer the worrying factor for the BJP, but its leaders are. In a House of 225 members, the BJP has 119 members, besides the support of an Independent MLA and a nominated MLA. The Congress, the principal Opposition, has just 71, the JD(S) 26 and Independents 7. One nominated member and the Speaker complete the tally. 

When B S Yeddyurappa was the chief minister, he often said he had no choice, but poach MLAs of other parties for the survival of his government, give ‘stability’ to Karnataka politics and avoid fresh elections. Now, Yeddyurappa has become a former chief minister and is making the best efforts to get back the post.

A cursory glance at the developments in the BJP over the last 43 months show that even the seniors in the party have not been able to handle power and position. Yeddyurappa himself is facing many legal hurdles over land scams and the party’s central leaders have no sympathy left for him. The gulf between his camp and the ‘true’ BJP men’s camp is only increasing. The shameful act of ministers watching porn is the last nail in the coffin for the party.

No expansionAfter Gowda became the chief minister, the party was hoping to rebuild its image and get ready for the Assembly elections. Going for early elections is something the party dreads now. Facing the public when the Congress and JD(S) are trying to cash in on the situation will be  a tough task.

The chief minister is left with nearly 19 portfolios with the exit of the three ministers. It is a truncated Cabinet now, with just 24 ministers including the chief minister. Sources in the party say he will not venture into cabinet expansion or redistribute the portfolios at this juncture. The three ministers who resigned, in all, had five portfolios. Distributing them among the present ministers may cause heartburn among the pro and anti-Yeddyurappa camps. 

Gowda is readying to present the budget in March. Like last year, the State may have the budget before the Centre’s budget which is on March 16. Then comes the challenge to prepare the party for elections, scheduled for next year.

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