Illustration by Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint
Illustration by Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint
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Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa must be watching political developments in the poll-bound states with curiosity, albeit with a tinge of desolation.

He could almost see Mithun Chakraborty chuckling on Saturday when the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was attaching assets of Trinamool Congress MP Satabdi Roy in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam. Both Roy and Chakraborty were the brand ambassadors of the Saradha Group. Both had returned to the ED the money they got as remuneration from the conglomerate. But on Saturday, Chakraborty was happily holding roadshows while Roy was helplessly watching the ED attach her assets. He had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last month while she remained in Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Two other top guns of the BJP today — national vice-president Mukul Roy and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma — were also facing the heat from central agencies for their alleged involvement in the Saradha scam. It has gone cold now. They are prominent BJP leaders today.

In another development last week, the Election Commission of India, true to its revised standards of impartiality, reduced the campaigning ban on Sarma from 48 to 24 hours to enable him to make the best of the last day of campaigning in Assam.

Looking at how Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah take care of their finds from other parties, Yediyurappa must be wondering what has gone wrong after his ghar wapsi —  his return to the BJP in 2014 at the behest of then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. If his party put a premium on chief ministerial hopeful, who defected from other parties, why should he be grudged for becoming the chief minister by emulating in Karnataka what the BJP did in many states? He brought down the Janata Dal (S)-Congress government 20 months back but has had a rough ride all through, with the BJP high command first saddling him with three deputies and then denying him for long the comfort of having his own team of ministers.


Also read: 20 months, 12 flip-flops: Why Karnataka’s Yediyurappa govt is being called a ‘U-turn govt’


Silence at the top

For a leader who had joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) 50 years ago and has remained loyal to the party for all but 14 months, the writing on the wall must be so clear: The BJP high command wants him to step down and aside. Last week when minister K.S. Eshwarappa wrote to the governor and the top party leadership, complaining against the CM, the BJP high command’s response was unmistakable in mildness of tone and tenor.

“Whatever the differences, he should have discussed with the chief minister and in the party forum,” said Arun Singh, BJP general secretary in-charge of Karnataka. Eshwarappa’s complaint about Yediyurappa’s style of functioning will not go unattended either. Singh said the contents of the letter will be discussed after the assembly elections.

Yediyurappa wouldn’t be wrong if he were to interpret this response from Delhi as a signal to his dissidents to step up. It becomes all the more evident by the silence of the high command over the constant attack by BJP MLAs on the CM. After the cabinet expansion last January, over half-a-dozen BJP MLAs went around town telling people how the CM had been blackmailed “with a CD” into giving ministerial berths.

Senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, an emerging Lingayat leader, has been constantly attackingYediyurappa publicly, embarrassing him and the government. In a party like the BJP, such acts of indiscipline would invite suspension, if not immediate expulsion. The BJP leadership in Bengaluru and Delhi has, however, chosen to look the other way.

The dissidents are mounting pressure on Yediyurappa at a time when old corruption cases have returned to haunt him. Last Wednesday, the Karnataka High Court vacated the stay on investigations into a 2019 criminal case against him for allegedly offering money and ministership to a JD(S) MLA’s son. About a fortnight back, the high court had directed a special court to re-instate an old case against Yediyurappa for alleged corruption in the de-notification of land. The CM has suffered legal setbacks in three other corruption cases against him in the past five months.


Also read: Why BJP can no longer ignore this MLA’s outbursts against Karnataka CM Yediyurappa


Options before Yediyurappa

As it is, B.S. Yediyurappa looks in no mood to give up even as he works on a succession plan for his son, Vijayendra. Taking advantage of the fact that he remains the tallest Lingayat leader and the only BJP leader with mass appeal pan-Karnataka, the chief minister, 78, has managed to defy the unwritten RSS and BJP age criterion — nobody to hold any office after 75 years. Wary of a possible repeat of 2012 when Yediyurappa had quit the BJP to float his own party and ensuring the defeat of his parent party in the 2013 assembly election, the BJP central leadership has been guarded in their dealings with him. But BJP insiders now say that Yediyurappa must start counting his days in the CM’s chair. Initially, his dissenters had the ears of BJP general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh, an arch-rival of Yediyurappa, only. But Modi and Shah have also become indifferent to the septuagenarian leader who clings on to the chair, jeopardising the party’s plans for expansion and grooming of a new face for the next election two years away. There is no way that Modi and Shah will go to the next polls with an 80-year-old man as the party’s face. The high court opening/re-opening so many probes against him has made his position untenable.

Yediyurappa must look at a graceful retirement option. He doesn’t have either the age or the MLAs on his side to force a showdown with the high command, if push comes to shove. Politicians are not known to salute the setting sun that the Lingayat leader is today. Besides, the BJP has been consciously promoting many other Lingayat leaders to keep the community engaged if Yediyurappa must go down kicking and screaming. BJP leaders from Karnataka, however, say he should settle for rehabilitation in a Raj Bhawan and/or a place for his son in Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers.

Views are personal.

(Edited by Neera Majumdar)

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Yeddy’s primary error seems to have been that he was not recruited into the BJP by Modi and Shah’s Enforcement Directorate. But for those who suffer under his rule, he does exemplify BJP priorities. “For Government, By Government and To Government” at the cost of the citizen.

  2. To retain power the Present ruling party will bend backwards they have no principles and Democracy is a Mockery to these chaps.bThey will sell their Mother Land for Money
    Jai Shree Ram Jai Shree Krsna

  3. Yes after yedeurappa no Hope’s for BJP but he has to go as everyone have to because he never allowed others to and that not good sign of good leader it is of a good dictator

  4. Yeddiyurappa is a educated and polished south India leader who has fan base of his own, no matter which party he belongs to , he shouldn’t fear the outlaws of the BJP’s uneducated brass and stop licking their boots ,instead get focused on good governance and people friendly policies and enforce price control on all essential commodities and fuel.

    • Rauf Khan you are turning out to be first pappu putting pappu rahul in second position.Why are you quite that in 2013 pappi 1 antonio mario called modi maut kaa saudagar and in 2014 pappu 2 tahul tore the page of PM Man Mohan Singh in presence of PM.Why are you quite that how the Shias,Sufis and Ahmedias are mistreated in Porkistan and Baluchistan Liberation Army has killed many duffer porki officers and soldiers.Why are you quite that in 19 Jan 1990 Kashmiri Pundits were tortured and killed and they had to leave kashmir.Twenty lakhs Uyghers are in jail in China and China has destroyed all mosques and converted them to toilets.Pre 1962 when China occupied AKSAICHIN Nehru said not a blade of grass grows there.The worst was 1921 Malabar riots .When the Katwas killed the Hindus Gandhi supported the Katwas. Read the book by Dr Bhim Rao Ambaedkar blaming Mahatma gandhi for Malabar riots.The worst was during partition the katwas in Porkistan killed the Hindus and Sikhs and many had to leave porkistan empty handed.The biggest blunder was by Mahatma Gandhi , he gave rs 55 crore to porkistan in 1948 though majority of khangress leaders opposed it .All you katwas in India and Porkistan pre british rule were Hindus.The invading foreign katwas destroyed 30000 hindu temples and forcibally converted the hindus to katwas by torturing them

  5. For a person who has spent 50 years as RSS follower, Yadiyurappa singularly lacks scruples. About a year back, an audio tape circulated in which he had offered money to another politician to join BJP. He denied that the voice was his. Twenty four hours later, he owned up the voice!

    He is naturlly inclined to commit scams. All of us know how mining barons, with their money power corrupted Karnataka politics. Now Karnataka Government under Yadiyurappa wants to export Iron ore! It is back to east India company times. Send raw materials cheap out of India, and get expensive finished products back. Probably, the ore will go to China, who will dump the resultant steel in India injuring Indian industries.

    • So basically he does what every single BJP
      leader does but owns up to it. How’s that lacking scruples?

  6. Yediyurappa collects hundreds of crores of rupees each and every single day illegally
    by using just the traffic police department that includes towing terrorism.
    I wonder why people fall head over heels to elect their choice. Why do they vote and bring to power corrupt people again and again and again.
    If this country were to be corruption free then atleast the judiciary and press were to be effective and alive. But unfortunately both these institutions are also corrupt and in deep comatose.

  7. without b s yadyurappa, bjp in karnataka is nothing to show and face the voters of karnataka.

  8. BSY has been performing much better than any other ex CM’s of karnataka, he can bring in the numbers of both MLA and MP. Other lingayat leaders within the party must stop lusting for CM post and work in their present capacities. At 93 Karunanidhi was the CM candidate in last elections.

  9. problem with politics today is even after these many years it is still caste based and not development based. Tell me, which caste is against progress and development? Then pls only focus on that na.

  10. The Print should be renamed the Congress Prestitute. Can’t he see the infrastructure laid down by the BJP? Development in defences and technology. The government is proactive in dealing with Covid as well as getting e cars in the country. But this prestitute will never see it. Not a word on MVA vasuli scam. But this scound*el Gupta has a problem with Mithun roaming free. Is Mithun is a culprit, Mamta could have filed a state enquiry. Why didnt she?

  11. Without BSY, BJP will have no place in Karnataka, and others party will get benefitted. BJP has power in Karnataka that is becoz of BSY, not becoz of Modi image and popularity.

  12. Without him bjp is zero in Karnataka.. he holds a strong base, stronger than modi.. bcoz he belongs to a strong majority lingayath religion group.. without him n lingayath religion votes bjp wont even get 20-30 seats

    • Within lingayats bay subcaste is less than 5% of total lingayats. Panchamasali community forms 72% of lingayats. Keep this in mind next time when you go on defending this utterly corrupt yediyurappa

  13. Dk singh please do some research, if modi and shah have the guts let them remove yeddyurappa, which yatnal are u talking about he who hopped parties and because of yeddyurrappa he got a mla ticket.
    Just writing some fancy stories does not make your stories correct.

    • hope you remember the words of abdullah ; modi can become prime minister but can never touch article 370. Wait for one election one india. when that come yedurappa and regional player will have touch time

  14. Why is DK Singh so excited about Yeduriappa’s predicament! We all know that his days are numbered and at the right time, he will be eased out. He has done a great service to the BJP over the years and it must remain grateful to him for that. He cannot go on for ever, as he is already close to 80 . However, to be fair to him, he cannot just say that he is retiring; the politician in him would be giving him eternal hope of just one more term or at least, ensure that his son is well settled in politics, Besides, he is the tallest leader of Lingayats today. So let us respect him and let him take his time to go gracefully,

    If BJP makes it West Bengal and also does well in Tamil Nadu, then pressure on him to go will increase immediately, as BJP will have to retain Karnataka next time around. Otherwise, he will get some time to hang on.

    • Dumb Thinking , Presently BJP is not attempting Such Leaders who crosses 75 years of their age

  15. hmm….if age is the mandatory essential criteria to move aside…then what about that Metro Man??/

  16. Problem with BJP in Karnataka is that there is only one leader who can bring 70 seats on his own or can defeat own party candidate in same number of seats that’s why bjp is silent on BSY

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