Winter holidays

BJP government deadlocked


After the Liberhan Commission findings’ leak, the only other politically interesting news to leak out to the media is the still-to-be confirmed story that Kannada actress Radhika, who is linked to a prominent politician, delivered a baby girl, ostensibly her second, in a Bangalore hospital. Otherwise, it has been a supinely calm fortnight for Karnataka’s recently volatile politics that almost wrecked BJP’s first single party government in the south led by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.

The Bellary Reddy brothers cum ministers, who piloted the recent dissident activity within the state BJP demanding a change of leadership, have temporarily halted their revolt as they must be busy fending off the twin attack on their mining business, which has been declared ‘illegal’, by the Supreme Court’s central empowered committee as well as the Andhra Pradesh government. The cause celebre of their dissident movement, Shobha Karandlaje, who was dropped from the ministry like a hot brick by Yeddyurappa at the Reddy brothers’ command, is keeping a low profile and an even lower voice, using her free time to circumambulate the flood-hit districts, Bellary not spared. Her no-nonsense approach impressed senior Congressman B Janardhana Poojary so much that he has voted her as the next chief minister-worthy!

But Yeddyurappa is in no mood to take on any challenge from within or outside his party for the moment. He has reportedly told the party’s central leadership to leave him alone at least until he presents the next state budget. While his party leaders obliged him, he failed on the opposition front by ruffling the Congress feathers for showing no inclination to allow a CBI probe into the Reddys’ mining ‘scam’, unlike his Andhra Pradesh counterpart. The Congress is also upset with the BJP government for cocking a snook at the constitutional authority of Governor H R Bhardwaj and criticising him for rapping it for its failure to provide timely and appropriate succour to flood victims even after drawing on huge Central funds.

The chief minister’s so called competitor, the newly inducted Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar, who dumped speakership of the Assembly to pursue active politics, is showing no inclination towards much activity, political or otherwise, either. He seems to be content with just his coronation and has settled well in his new assignment.

Admin on neutral

The rest of the BJP bandwagon, ministers, MLAs, MLCs and executives of various state-run boards and corporations, display varied states of uncertainty and inactivity, except that they were all looking a wee bit younger and sprightlier in schoolboy khakhi shorts and peaked caps, at the recent RSS rally in Bangalore. The sum total of it all is that the BJP central leadership’s recent troubleshooting efforts in Karnataka managed just one result — operation failed, patients and disease alive!

The trust within the state BJP and party government is said to be so low that the right hand does not believe what the left is doing. Though all sides are overtly willing to blink first, nobody knows when the temporary truce might be violated and by whom. Everybody seem to be biding their time to get their revenge or demand their pound of flesh. And last but not the least, administration has gone on neutral gear.

The only sign of political activity is the run up to the election to 25 seats of the Karnataka Legislative Council to be held on December 18. Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Minister Suresh Kumar, who is mostly identified with the Yeddyurappa camp, has valiantly claimed that the election would be fought on ‘issues’ like development works taken up by the BJP government and that the party was confident of bagging a majority of the seats. However, he adds in the same breath, that the outcome of the elections would not be a referendum on the performance of the state government as the ‘issues’ were different.

Whatever the issues, the Congress and Janata Dal (S) are planning to have a truck, which the BJP has described as ‘unholy’. The genre of the tie-up apart, the Congress-JD(S) tie succeeded in 2008 Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections and if it succeeds this time as well, then the BJP will have a new cause to mope about.

Elusive BBMP polls

That brings us to the elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike or city corporation, which everybody seems to have given up on, going by the sordid state of Bangalore roads on normal days, let alone the mayhem when it rains. Even court and state election commission interventions seem to have had little impact on the state government, which appears to be in no great hurry to hold the polls.

Understandable in the present circumstances but how much longer does the government intend running the show without an elected council is the moot point. The BBMP polls have been due for more than two years.

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