End the stalemate

The continuation of the stand-off between the opposition and the government in the Assembly which has held up crucial legislative business, including passing of the state budget, symbolises the deepening chasm in the political life in the state. The Assembly has degenerated into a chamber of rowdy behaviour with the language of the members descending to the level of abuse and threats. Both the opposition and the government are responsible for this situation, although it is the treasury benches which bear the greater onus for the alarming denouement. More disturbing, the war of words threatens to now spill over to the streets with both the sides declaring that they would be conducting marches to and from Bellary, the epicentre of the political seismic activity in the state.

It is apparent that the BJP-led government is under great stress. Some members of the cabinet through their questionable activities may be walking the tightrope of conflict of interest as the government’s silence over the massive heist of five lakh tonnes of iron ore from Belekeri shows. People are also watching with helplessness the relentless rape of the state’s natural resources and the virtual autarky that Bellary has been turned into by some of the legislators and ministers from the district. They may not approve of the method that the governor H R Bhardwaj has adopted to rein the government in — and there’s no doubt he has gone beyond what the Constitution mandates — but the situation begs for a mechanism to deal with a rapacious government gone completely awry.

The earlier the chief minister and the BJP central leadership realise that the Bellary trio of ministers has of late become a political liability and a deep embarrassment to the party the better it will be. For Yeddyurappa in particular, their actions are like a Damocles sword hanging over his head. The adversity is also an opportunity for the chief minister. He can persuade the opposition to accept an overarching inquiry by the Lokayukta into the whole gamut of illegal iron ore mining from a date preceding the BJP’s entry into power, while offering a specific CBI probe into the missing iron ore at Belekeri. The two probes can be complementary and not be mutually exclusive. That should satisfy the honour of the opposition, strengthen Yeddyurappa within the party and end the gridlock that is affecting the state’s governance.

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