Calling the bluff

Having endured B S Yeddyurappa’s brinkmanship for a long time, BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Friday gave the clearest indication in Bangalore that the party has had enough of the former Karnataka chief minister’s tantrums and demand for ‘honourable reinstatement.’

Gadkari dared Yeddyurappa to leave the BJP if he wished to do so.

The unusually tough message came at the party’s Chintan Baitak in the immediate backdrop of the BJP chief’s parleys Thursday night with state BJP leaders on the issue of reinstating Yeddyurappa as chief minister. Gadkari has driven home the point that the party was bigger than any individual and there was no room for ‘caste politics.’

It leaves no room for any doubt that the BJP central leadership would rather sacrifice its government in Karnataka, if need be, than continue to be hostage to a highly temperamental and tainted leader who could see nothing beyond his nose.

Ever since he was forced to resign as chief minister last August following allegations of corruption and nepotism and filing of court cases against him, Yeddyurappa has become a source of embarrassment to the BJP both in the state and at the national level. Considering that Yeddyurappa had played a significant role in BJP’s rise to power in Karnataka, the party had accepted his nominee, D V Sadananda Gowda, then an MP, to succeed him, though the move almost split the party vertically.

Gowda was not given a free hand to choose his cabinet and at Yeddyurappa’s behest, all his supporters were accommodated in the Gowda ministry with the same portfolios they held earlier. The illegal mining and land denotification scams caught up with Yeddyurappa and he was in judicial custody for a little over a month, with a number of court cases still pending against him and his family members. But in the last six months, he has never allowed Gowda to function freely, trying to influence every decision, including the appointment of a new Lokayukta in place of Justice Santosh Hegde and repeatedly demanded reinstatement.

The governance, in the process, has virtually come to a stand still in the state, and the people have become sick and tired of the political ‘circus.’ Therefore, Gadkari’s stern warning that “money making and spending will not be tolerated,” when the BJP was involved in a nation-wide campaign against corruption, is welcome. Now that his bluff has been called, Yeddyurappa may try to split the party. But it is something the BJP appears to be prepared for.

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