BJP's capitulation

The Bharatiya Janata Party central leadership’s capitulation to the undisguised blackmail politics of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and his supporters in forcing the resignation of D V Sadananda Gowda and getting their nominee Jagadish Shettar to be named the next chief minister, does not augur well for the party. Yeddyurappa had resigned in August, 2011 following charges of corruption and nepotism as detailed in the Lokayukta report and the subsequent chargesheet filed by the Lokayukta police. Sadananda Gowda was Yeddyurappa’s choice to be his successor. Ironically, in less than two months after Gowda took charge, the Yeddyurappa group started sniping at him, never allowing him to settle down.

In his brief stint of 11 months as chief minister, the ever-smiling Gowda tried to put the administration back on the rails, but considering that his cabinet was filled with Yeddyurappa loyalists, he never got the cooperation of his colleagues. At the height of dissident activities, the Yeddyurappa group even tried to sabotage the presentation of the state budget last March. If the BJP high command had acted tough then, allowing Gowda to sack at least some of the dissident ministers, it would have saved itself of the embarrassment it has faced now. The central leaders behaved as if they had mortgaged the party to the whims and fancies of Yeddyurappa and did not allow Gowda even to fill the 11 vacancies that existed in the cabinet. Now, as there was no earthly reason to remove Gowda from his post, except the relentless pressure from the Yeddyurappa camp, the line advocated by senior leader L K Advani that it was better to dissolve the Assembly and go for elections, should have prevailed, but unfortunately, it didn’t to the eternal shame of a national party like the BJP.

The only reason why the BJP agreed to anoint Jagadish Settar as chief minister appears to be that it would like to appease the powerful Lingayat community before facing the electorate again. The party should have realised that in 2008 all sections of people voted for the BJP and its government has nearly squandered the mandate by indulging in in-fighting, corruption and paying little attention towards administration. With less than a year to go for elections, Shettar, once his government takes charge on Wednesday, will have the onerous responsibility of giving a clean and efficient administration to make up for the lapses of the past and hope that the people revive their faith in the BJP.  

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