Ugly fight



The turf war that has broken out between Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and his opponents in the BJP led by the ‘Reddy brothers’ could not have come at a worse time. The entire north Karnataka which was devastated by unprecedented floods last month, is yet to recover fully and thousands of families that were rendered homeless are still languishing in inadequate relief camps. The chief minister and some of his colleagues were trying hard to raise adequate funds and gear up the administrative machinery to rehabilitate the dispossessed, but the political turmoil that has hit the ruling party has completely derailed the relief operations.
According to government’s own estimates, nearly Rs 20,000 crore is required for restoring the collapsed infrastructure and building homes for about two lakh families. Contributions had been pouring in from the general public, corporates as well as the Central government and the next few months were crucial for bringing succour to the unfortunate victims of the calamity. But at this very critical juncture, ministers Janardhana Reddy, Karunakara Reddy and Sriramulu have raised a banner of revolt against Yeddyurappa’s ‘style of functioning,’ bringing the state administration to a grinding halt. Several other ministers and ruling party MLAs, who were also unhappy with the chief minister for one reason or the other, have joined the Reddys’ bandwagon, sending the less than 18-month old government into a tailspin. An angry and frustrated Yeddyurappa has sought to hit back at his detractors by shuffling senior officials considered close to the Reddy brothers, but since these officials were working in flood-hit regions, the chief minister’s precipitate act has merely exacerbated the situation.

The BJP high command has dispatched senior leader Arun Jaitley on a fire-fighting mission. But the rag-tag central leadership, immersed in its own internal strife and totally demoralised in the face of successive electoral reversals across the country, is hardly in a position to enforce discipline or restore order in its Karnataka unit. Yeddyurappa and his colleagues should realise that they have already done immense damage to their government by indulging in power politics even in the midst of a huge natural calamity. If the chief minister’s high-handed style of functioning is the cause of all the troubles, he needs to quickly mend his ways and the others also should retrace their steps from the rebellious path to bring back sanity. It’s the least expected of elected leaders in this hour of crisis before the state.

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