The test for Bommai and the road ahead: A discussion with Dr. Shastri
New Delhi, Aug 19: The transition in Karnataka was a smooth one with Basavaraj Bommai taking over from B S Yediyurappa. While it is too early to tell, the question is how Bommai will take the party forward as in Karnataka the last two years in governance has been extremely crucial.
To find out how the Karnataka scenario will pan out, OneIndia caught up with Dr. Sandeep Shastri, India's leading psephologist. He begins by saying that the BSY of 2012 is very different compared to the Yediyurappa of 2021.
He says that the way in which the central leadership has handled the transition is commendable. There were several boxes that Bommai managed to tick. Firstly he was a choice of the central leadership that BSY endorsed and not the other way around.
Dr. Shastri says that Bommai is a Lingayat and as a minister was extremely efficient minister in the BSY cabinet. He is also good at micro-management without getting into the limelight and controversies.
He is capable of reaching out to groups within and outside the party. He started out with the Janata Dal and then joined the BJP. He was nurtured under the leadership of Ramakrishna Hegde, his father and Deve Gowda. Hence he is capable of reaching out to groups within and outside the party as well. What is critical is how he builds on this advantage. Will he do that or will he filter that away, Dr Shastri asks.
Now coming back to BSY, Dr. Shastri says that it is a very different scenario today. The entire political context has undergone a change. In 2012 he was fighting for his legacy and political survival. However one has to keep in mind the BJP of that time is very different when compared to the party of today.
For BSY this has been a final retirement move. The entire transition was handled extremely well by both the central leadership as well as BSY, he says. The leadership thanked BSY for his contributions and they handled him with great dignity.
On the question of succession the party has made it clear that it is anti dynasty and this is something that they cannot negate. The message is that whoever wants to enter the party and hold a position must do so by earning it, Dr. Shastri also said.
Dr. Shastri says that it would be important how the current CM handles the situation and also ensures that he continues to ensure the goodwill of his mentor BSY. The test for Bommai would be how he takes along the segments within the BJP along. While Bommai seems emotionally and psychologically capable of carrying forward the responsibility. However, I thought he ought to have been more firm when the portfolios were announced, says Dr. Shastri. I think his position has been weakened slightly when he let the ministers bargain. This was a slight mis-step on his party. "I felt that he had to have a firm position on this and he should not have allowed ministers to have a say in the portfolio allocation, says Dr. Shastri.