The BJP government in Karnataka found itself in a serious trouble after eight ministers loyal to the former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa called it quits on Friday night. The BSY loyalists handed over their resignation to Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, whom they want to remove from office. Through their resignation, BSY and his team were also trying to pressurise the central leadership of the party to give in to their demand. Another minister would resign on Saturday, informed CM Udasi, the PWD minister and one of the rebels.
The dissenting leaders have had a troubled relation with the CM for the past few months and according to the rebels, Gowda even did not arrange for a legislature party meeting despite being asked. Gowda was clearly not the choice of the dissenting MLAs. That a major crisis was in the making in the afternoon was evident when a leader from the BSY camp indicated that the MLAs would resign by afternoon.
The crisis precipitated within 24 hours of the BJP's central leaders asking the CM not to go to New Delhi to discuss the issue, including a probable change of leadership in the state government. The leadership was clearly trying to buy time but BSY had other plans. The dissenting camp asked the top leadership to arrive at a decision of changing the leadership at the earliest but the latter clearly said that there was no possibility of a change, at least till the end of the Presidential polls due next month, for Gowda was doing a 'commendable job' as the CM.
Sources in Karnataka BJP said both pro-Gowda and anti-Gowda forces were at play and it was difficult to settle the issue decisively. The pro-Gowda camp, too, has threatened to quit if the incumbent CM was removed, which would endanger the government. The first BJP government in Karnataka and south India has just completed four years but the joy of nearing its tenure has been eclipsed an ugly squabble. [Read More: Gowda camp hits back, two Ministers to resign]
BSY has been a thorn for Karnataka BJP
Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat strongman, was the first BJP chief minister of the state but was removed from the top post following his indictment in illegal mining scam. It is ever since then that the government has been facing relentless crisis. BSY has been sulking ever since he was removed from the CM's office on Jul 31 last year and has ultimately declared an open war against his own party. He has attacked Gowda, who was handpicked by himself once, calling the latter a 'traitor'. BSY was particularly angry with Gowda for the latter allegedly did not vacate the office for him six months after assuming office, it is learnt.
BSY's designs corner BJP
Finding it increasingly difficult to regain the lost office, BSY has decided to push for one of his loyalist, Jagadish Shettar, the rural development and panchayati raj minister and also a Lingayat, as the CM candidate. BSY, although said that he was not quitting the party keeping in mind the request made to him by legislators and senior party leaders like Arun Jaitley, but in reality, he knows very well that the BJP leadership is quite helpless before his opportunistic designs.
The BJP would have welcomed BSY's decision to quit the party and utilise the remaining period before the next assembly polls to manage the mess and project a new Lingayat leader to nullify the rebel leader. But BSY, a seasoned Lingayat politician, is rooted on a strong electoral ground and would not be satisfied with anything less than executive power, direct or indirect. Even if one of his loyalists is placed in the CM's office, it would give enough opportunity to BSY to pull the strings from behind, which might not augur well for the party. For, BSY is a tainted politician and in the future he is convicted by the court, the party would be left red-faced and the consequences could be disastrous for the 2014 national elections.
Showering praise on Sonia
The other problem with the rebel politician is that he has, of late, revealed a tilt towards the Congress by showering praise on Sonia Gandhi and unity in the former. He said the BJP was lacking such a unity, something which would surely place the top brass in an uncomfortable zone. But it could do little for again, BSY is said to have a strong local support and could engineer a major split. That could prove a fatal blow for the BJP in south India, something the Congress has been experiencing in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Whether within the party or outside, BSY would hand out a major jolt to the BJP, that's for sure. The incumbent CM will also continue, if he remains the office-holder, to feel the pressure for he would know that most of his colleagues in the government are against him.