The appointment of former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa as the chief of the state BJP has surprised as the leader's name was found in connection with a number of corruption cases.
The BJP top brass knows very well that popular perception or opinions outside and even inside the party on Yeddyurappa will not be aligned but still it went ahead with the appointment.
The reason is simple: Winnability matters more than anything else in India's electoral politics and even the 'party with a difference' has to abide by that unwritten law.
BJP bids adieu to the Vajpayee-Advani era political mindset
Through the appointment of Yeddyurappa, the BJP has shown that it has finally succeeded in nailing the concept of clean politics or rather, bid adieu to what its first-generation leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani had striven for. By endorsing the fact that a party is as good as its seats and vote-share, the BJP of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has virtually taken the course of many other political parties, and ceased to be what its old guards had once proudly called a party with a difference. [What difference will BSY make to Karnataka BJP]
BSY's exit proved costly for BJP in 2013 Karnataka polls
In the past, Yeddyurappa had found a big obstacle in the party in LK Advani who strongly opposed the former's return to the BJP after he was forced to resign as the CM of Karnataka following the allegations of corruption. [Ignoring B S Yeddyurappa is not an option available for the BJP]
Yeddyurappa even quit the BJP in December 2012 and floated a new party called the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) before the 2013 Assembly elections in the southern state. The KJP though won six seats in the election, but its 10 per cent vote-share proved costly for the BJP as it lost the first southern state it won in 2008 after just one term. The Yeddyurappa fiasco was considered as a major reason for this defeat.
Advani didn't want Yeddyurappa back saying it would hurt party's image
The fresh central leadership of the BJP under Modi sought Yeddyurappa's return as it felt the BJP will be able to do well in Karnataka only if the Lingayat strongman comes back with the 10 per cent vote-share he got but Advani had other ideas. The patriarch felt bringing back Yeddyurappa will hurt the BJP's image and he even preferred a loss over a tainted politician. He wanted to build a fresh leadership in Karnataka instead. [Forgotten in the party, left behind by his wife: LK Advani is a lonely man now]
But Friday's decision proved that the days of principles are history in the BJP now. However, this is not the first time that principle has lost to realpolitik.
Rajdharma matters less than winnability
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had also raised the question of Rajdharma (the rulers' responsibility) in the wake of the Gujarat riots in 2002 but it was Advani who had backed Modi, the then chief minister of the western state, then. It is said that Vajpayee had to pay the price two years later when the NDA unexpecteldy lost the parliamentary elections to Sonia Gandhi's Congress.
Today, with the nullification of Advani's stand on Yeddyurappa, the BJP has expressed its ruthless intention of winning elections to wipe out the Congress from whatever constituencies it still has and principles and ideologies do not stand a chance in such scheme of things.
Amit Shah's 'NOC' to BSY
BJP chief Amit Shah said except for one case which too is not criminal, all others against Yeddyurappa have been quashed, hence clearly issuing a 'no-objection certificate' to the latter's leadership in the state.
Even Modi's no-corruption stand is no obstacle to BSY's winnability factor
Even Modi's no-corruption stand at the Centre doesn't come as a deterrence for the party when it comes to winning electoral tests. Yeddyurappa is the leader who can make the maximum impact for the BJP to get yet another state rid of the Congress and this winnability factor is the most important one. Everything else is secondary.