The need for politicians to score a self-goal, Sushma Swaraj speaks about Reddy brothers in Karnataka

From time to time, Indian politicians get into the foot in mouth syndrome and utter something that leads to a lot of controversy for them and for their political parties. In extreme cases, this leads to them losing their current set of privileges, and even years away from active politics. One does not know what makes them make such statements, and their political calculations when they make such statements, but the impact to them can take many years to rectify.
The biggest example of such statements in the recent past has been the statement by LK Advani about Jinnah having secular credentials, made when he was visiting Pakistan. There may have been several motives to make such a statement, and the context of the statement may have been historically accurate, but making such a statement was a red rag for his support base and he had to suffer in the doghouse for some time till the RSS realized that they had no alternative and he was required for the BJP (and surely after he had expressed his regret for the statements he made).

In the case of Karnataka, the BJP government remains delicate. Inspite of having won the support of the dissident group by making all sorts of promises, the situation in the state BJP can get confrontational at any point because of the presence of the Reddy brothers as a significant power source. They control huge mining power, both in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and as a result, have a lot of money power as well as influence in their part of the state. With this money power, they are able to draw dissidents on their side and when required, confront B S Yeddyurappa. Now Yeddyurappa considers himself the BJP authority in the state and has tried to force his way on the Reddy brothers in the past and almost brought down his own Government, with the Congress and the JD(S) watching gleefully from the sidelines.
Sushma Swaraj, ever since she contested (and lost) the Bellary Lok Sabha election against Sonia Gandhi, has been seen as the protector of the Reddy brothers, although the media has not really pushed her too much on this support. Thus, it was strange for her to come out and make a statement that she did not have a relationship with them, and that it was actually others such as Jaitley and Yeddyurappa who were instrumental in making 3 of the Reddy brothers as ministers and she had actually opposed giving so many ministerial posts to the members of a single family. And of course, this sudden statement drew all sorts of political connotations especially since there was no motive or crisis where she had to defend herself and the Government had also been declared stable for the current time.
The Congress and JD(S) of course jumped on this statement, since they started again questioning the reasons why the ministers were in the Government and implying all sorts of money and power reasons; and the central BJP high command wondering why she made such a statement. Jaitley decided not to speak (or must have been told not to say anything right now – the power tussle between Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj is well known); it was left to the previous head and the current head of the BJP, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari to try and damp the controversy down, and for the moment, they seem to have succeeded.

1 comment to The need for politicians to score a self-goal, Sushma Swaraj speaks about Reddy brothers in Karnataka

  • Devanshu

    Ms Swaraj seems to have lost her sense of tact and timing, as did Mr Advani before her. The only explanation that occurs to me is that in their overconfidence, both these leaders forgot the repercussions their statements could have.

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