Saturday, March 25, 2023
HomePoliticsIn Karnataka, BJP & Congress fighting identical problems — dissent, ambition &...

In Karnataka, BJP & Congress fighting identical problems — dissent, ambition & rivalries

Several senior BJP MLAs are angry at being kept out of Yediyurappa’s cabinet. In Congress, the battle is over who will be leader of opposition.

Text Size:

Bengaluru: Rivals Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are facing similar problems in Karnataka — dissension in the ranks, with leaders aspiring for plum posts and some even threatening to join the opposing camp.

While in the BJP, it’s a question of too many leaders for too few available cabinet berths, the squabble in the Congress is about the position of Leader of the Opposition in the assembly.

Rumblings within the BJP

A few days after inducting 17 legislators into his ministry, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has his hands full with dissatisfied senior leaders such as Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti, Sullia MLA S. Angara and Honnali MLA S. Renukacharya, who are upset at being ignored in the cabinet expansion.

Yediyurappa and new BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel have been trying to calm angry legislators, who realise that now that 17 cabinet posts are filled, there are just 17 left, 12 of which will probably be reserved for those who rebelled from the Congress and the JD(S).

Sources in the BJP said the party’s central leadership is keenly following the developments in Karnataka, and if the situation worsens, it may ask Yediyurappa to dissolve the assembly and call mid-term polls.

“Amit Shah ji is in constant touch with the state leadership about how Yediyurappa manages his cabinet, to ensure the issue does not snowball into a bigger problem,” said a senior BJP leader who did not want to be named.

Former JD(S) leader Sa Ra Mahesh, who is part of the rebel camp waiting to be inducted into the BJP, agreed that if the confusion continues, mid-term elections are the likeliest option.

“There are only 34 posts open of which 17 have been filled. Obviously, of the 80 MLAs, several of them will be dissatisfied, and Yediyurappa will have to handle the growing dissent or face polls,” Mahesh told the media in Mysuru.

Political analyst A. Narayana said while such rumblings are common, the BJP government doesn’t face any threat from such dissension.

“I don’t see any threat to the existing government like we saw with the Congress-JD(S) coalition. The question is what will happen if these seniors are not accommodated. The BJP is in a strong position, is controlled centrally, and with the opposition being weak, the dissenting MLAs have no other option,” Narayana said.

Also read: Why BJP leader who lost polls & was caught watching porn in House enters Karnataka cabinet

Congress ‘originals’ vs Siddaramaiah

The Congress, meanwhile, is witnessing an internal battle between some “long-serving” party leaders and former CM Siddaramaiah over the leader of the opposition position in the assembly.

While Siddaramaiah would seem the obvious choice, he isn’t, because leaders like D.K. Shivakumar, H.K. Patil and G. Parameshwara have thrown their hats into the ring.

The difference, according to political analyst Mahadev Prakash, is that the latter lot of leaders are positioning themselves as ‘original’ Congress leaders as opposed to Siddaramaiah, who switched over from the JD(S) in 2006.

Prakash said these leaders have been upset with Siddaramaiah for constantly being in the spotlight over the last decade, while their own years of dedication have led to no reward from the Congress high command.

“There is a reason why the ‘original Congressmen’ are now seeking their due. In 2009, when the Congress high command was set to make Mallikarjun Kharge the leader of the opposition, Siddaramaiah created a ruckus saying if he was not made the LoP, he would not cooperate in the forthcoming elections. Fearing an electoral loss as Siddaramaiah had a lot of support, he was made the LoP and Kharge was accommodated in Delhi,” said Prakash.

According to Prakash, given the circumstances, Siddaramaiah should concentrate on rebuilding the Congress, an issue that needs to be addressed on a war-footing.

Also read: Karnataka phone-tapping row again disconnects link between Kumaraswamy & Siddaramaiah


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular