Woes of an 'unstylish' CM

In happier times Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and his cabinet colleague Shobha Karandlaje whom the dissidents are targeting. PTI Photo

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon responded to Norwegian criticism of his leadership by saying he had his own style and charisma.

“We all have a different background, leadership styles. We must respect each others’,” Ban said, countering Norway’s deputy UN Ambassador Mona Juul, who accused him of counterproductive leadership.

Karnataka’s chief minister B S Yeddyurappa is in more or less a similar predicament, accused as he is by his own ministers and legislators  of lacking in style and charisma to be their leader.

Foremost among the allegations levelled against the chief minister is that he is henpecked to the only woman minister of his cabinet, Shobha Karandlaje. Although it is not uncommon or unprecedented for political leaders to have had overbearing married partners or controlling women colleagues, the woes of Yeddyurappa appear to be compounded by the fact that he is a widower and she unmarried, domineering yet efficient. In short, the duo is accused of playing the henpecked CM and the de facto CM!

Multiple commands

On the flip side, the BJP has always had its share of woes from women, be they from the party or otherwise. As expelled BJP leader Shakuntala Shetty put it, “What happened to A B Vajpayee because of Jayalalitha, is happening to Yeddyurappa because of Shobha!”  

Another peculiar situation confronting the chief minister is that he has to contend with multiple high commands. Unlike most chief ministers, who only have their party high command to obey, Yeddyurappa has two other high commands - the RSS to which he owes his political origins and his caste Lingayat mutts with whom he enjoys a robust and continuous affiliation.

But caste always spawns new leaders from time to time and Yeddyurappa appears to have failed to acknowledge this. Series of electoral successes made the chief minister forget his promise to induct fellow Lingayat leader Jagadish Shettar into the ministry after one year’s Speakership. Had he kept his promise to Shettar, he could have stolen the thunder from the Reddys' rebellion and turned it into a Lingayat vs Reddys fight, which he would undoubtedly win.

Money matters

Again, the allegation that the chief minister and the BJP depended too much on the resources of the Bellary mining tycoons to fund elections and defections has him weighed down. Every party has its own fund raisers who not only fund the party in times of need but also keep themselves politically afloat. Did the Congress not depend on Shamanur Shivashankarappa, R V Deshpande and D K Shiva Kumar, or the JD(S) on the Gowdas, for their political exploits?

Now that Yeddyurappa has promised to mend his “unstylish” ways, the party high command too has backed him, knowing his support among the voters.

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