B S Yeddyurappa's return unlikely to help BJP in Karnataka

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The BJP is desperate to improve its poll possibilities in Karnataka, one of the few states where the Congress is expected to do well in the next Lok Sabha elections. The saffron party, which squandered a hard-earned chance of leading a government in South India just after a term and faced a humiliating loss in the assembly polls in May last year, decided to bring back former chief minister of the state B S Yeddyurappa in the party's fold.

The same Lingayat leader who had helped the BJP to form its first government beyond the Hindi heartland in 2008, was also responsible for its decline within five years, thanks to corruption charges against him and the rise of rift in the party. The situation turned worse and failing to find the backing of BJP patriarch LK Advani, Yeddyurappa had to leave the party and formed his own Karnataka Janata Paksh, doing a big disservice to the BJP.

The situation in the BJP changed from June onwards when its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi began to rise in the party ranks and after Advani was eclipsed in September with the anointment of Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, the call to bring back Yeddyurappa became stronger.

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The decision to bring back Yeddyurappa is a realistic move by the BJP as far as the electoral politics is concerned. In our democracy, it is the group/community affiliation which gets reflected in the ballot box and for the BJP, Yeddyurappa's appeal as a Lingayat vote-puller is more important than his tainted image. The same applies to several other leaders in the country who continue to enjoy their parties' support only because they assure electoral support for their party through their loyal groups.

The BJP has so far followed the traditional style practised in the Indian politics. Had it been in 2004 or 2009, things might have gone largely unnoticed. But in the post-Delhi polls of 2013, the same practice will have different consequences. Karnataka is one of those states where the anti-corruption crusade is quite powerful and the Aam Aadmi Party has already begun to make its presence felt in the state through its membership drives.

The middle class of India is getting more and more intolerant against corruption, thanks to an intense movement against corruption and the success of the AAP and it will not allow the BJP to have a breather in Karnataka even with Yeddyurappa back on the board. There is an intense struggle to transform the Indian democracy into a clean system where each individual will be rewarded as a distinct system while the parties are still stuck the familiar practices of community democracy for the sake of the 'first past the post' system.

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