BSY's survival tactics put to test

CM paying price for political acrobatics

Chief Minister Yeddyurappa had not countered Kharge. But his defence was that he had to go for “Operation Lotus” to stabilise his government. He had repeatedly said that he would not have done it if the people of Karnataka had blessed him with 114 seats instead of 110 seats. Now, the chief minister is paying the price for doing the acrobatics for his and his party’s survival.

The CM encouraged “Operation Lotus” for forming the government after the Assembly elections, during the by-elections to the Assembly, the Lok Sabha polls and even for elections to various local bodies. In the assembly polls, 10 ST and 22 SC seats came to the BJP-fold. And, a majority of the seats are in North Karnataka where Sriramulu of Bellary had campaigned extensively. People belonging to SC/ST, who are traditional voters of the Congress, had suddenly shifted to the BJP, thanks to the “luring capacity” of the Reddys.

The post-poll scenario witnessed a new culture called “Operation Lotus”. It is an established fact that it was engineered by the Reddy siblings because of their money power. The strength of the BJP went up to 117 from 110 after the Assembly polls. Of the seven seats, five came to the BJP's kitty only because of the poaching of MLAs from other parties. Yeddyurappa could occupy the chief minister’s gaddi because of the support of five Independents, who were all under the control of the Reddys. When the Opposition vehemently criticised “Operation Lotus” saying that it was against democracy, the chief minister defended the strategy.

Yeddyurappa is now finding a minefield of problems in Bellary and its administration. He has transferred top bureaucrats of the district on the grounds that they were dancing to the tune of the Reddys. The chief minister had never sought the progress report of revenue department headed by Karunakara Reddy, that of the Tourism & Infrastructure Department headed by Janardhana Reddy and also that of the Health Department held by Sriramulu. Strangely, he never had any objection till the Reddys questioned the appointment of Rajeev Chandrashekar to supervise the housing projects in the flood-hit areas.

About two years ago Bellary was the fiefdom of the Reddys. But now it has spread to Chitradurga, Raichur, Gadag and Koppal. The LS ticket distributions in these districts were done at the behest of the mining tycoons.

Revolt

Probably the chief minister could have avoided the present crisis if he had changed his style of functioning when his senior ministerial colleague K S Eshwarappa had raised the banner of revolt three months ago. Like the Reddys, he had raised serious objections regarding the manner in which the chief minister was handling the administration. Like the Reddys, he had said the chief minister had to “change for the better” and Minister Shobha Karandlaje should be “tamed.” Probably, both have not happened.
At least a dozen ministers in the Yeddyurappa team are businessmen. But the Reddys have “invested” a lot in politics to further their clout as well as their mining business.

For them profit is the mantra. It is but natural that they expected “returns” for all the investment they did in their party government.  Yeddyurappa is on the offensive a bit late. He received compliments on the manner in which he handled the post-flood situation.

He also got wide coverage in the media. He roped in a businessman-turned-politician into his coterie. All these and more have only left the BJP divided with the chief minister on the one side and the Reddys-Jagadish Shettar on the other. A leader needs to have strategies besides being sincere and confident. If he depends on the monetary strength of others, then he will be riding a tiger.

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