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The mess in Karnataka – the BJP changes the chief minister again, forced by B S Yeddyurappa




For quite some time now, the BJP has been evolving into a more messy and chaotic scene in the state of Karnataka. For many years, the BJP was primarily known as a party that had no base in South India, with Maharashtra being the southern most point of power or influence. However, over a period of time, the BJP managed to develop a base in the state of Karnataka, with the support of the Lingayat caste, and under the leadership of the strongman from Karnataka, BS Yeddyurappa. He managed, with support from other elements within the BJP, to win the state elections and get the BJP to a position where it could form the Government.
However, the BJP likes to promise to be a party with a difference, a reform oriented and low corruption government being its hallmark. Well, guess what, if the BJP had hoped that Karnataka would show to the rest of South India about how good a government the BJP could give, it turned out to be horrifying for the party. BS Yeddyurappa came under a cloud fairly quickly, because of his attempts to get members of the opposition party to defect, or because of the revolts against his ways, and then finally, the biggest hit of all, getting swatted by corruption charges.

His position became untenable for the BJP when the Lokayukta raised formal charges against him, and he had to resign. However, he ensured that his own man, a low key man, Sadananda Gowda, was made the chief minister. The idea being that this would let Yeddyurappa rule by proxy and ensure that the benefits continued. However, pretty soon it became clear that the new chief minister was his own man, and Sadananda Gowda is reckoned to be much more honest than his previous chief minister, and this seemed to have pushed Yeddyurappa pretty hard. He soon started raising hell with the party high command about wanting to become the chief minister again, and a minor judicial victory seemed all that was required for him to stake his claim.
However, there is no way that the BJP can let him become the chief minister until all the charges against him are revoked, and that does not seem likely for quite some time. So, the next best thing for Yeddyurappa was to get Gowda out from the post and get his new own man in the position. Towards this end, as a push, Yeddyurappa got the resignation of many key ministers, and finally the writing was on the wall. Yeddyurappa won this round, with getting Gowda to resign, and Jagadish Shettar would be the new chief minister, doubtless with Yeddyurappa hoping that this chief minister will let him rule by proxy.
And then there is the caste angle; Yeddyurappa is a Lingayat, and the Lingayats have been with the BJP for many years and are essential for the BJP campaign in Karnataka. Removing Yeddyurappa has removed the key Lingayat leader for the BJP, and it cannot afford to turn them off, so the new chief minister, Jagadish Shettar, is also a Lingayat. The BJP will have to provide a honorable position for Gowda, else you turn off the Vokkalinga caste (and one does not know this removal of their man will effect their support for the BJP). Of course, something that Yeddyurappa is ignoring that if Jagadish Shettar becomes powerful, it will be difficult for him to be dislodged, and because of him being the same caste as Yeddyurappa, there are less reasons for him to be easily improved.




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