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Yeddyurappa finally makes his departure from the BJP




It finally happened. Yeddyurappa has been threatening for some time that he will make his departure from the BJP, unless the BJP designated him in a position of importance, and that did not happen. It was not a happy event for the BJP, but I believe that they had no chance other than what happened.
For the BJP, Karnatak is a critical state. For a long time the BJP has been derided as a party of North India, only able to make its presence in the cow belt and play a supporting role in Maharashtra. For the states east (and including) Bengal as well as the 4 main southern state, the BJP had no role to play, not even a supporting role. There is some influence that the RSS has in Kerala, but never to the extent that the BJP could even play a secondary role to the Congress and the Communists; and in Orissa, when Naveen Patnaik kicked them out of the ruling combination many years ago, they automatically started playing the 3rd role in the state, behind the BJD and the Congress. In a previous generation, the BJP had some influence in Andhra Pradesh, but that is no longer so.
In the light of all these, the victory of the BJP in Karnataka was a significant event; even though it took some time in coming, it showed that the BJP could actually start to make its presence felt in one of the southern states, and if it did a good job, then maybe it had something to show off in the other states. However, although the BJP got its caste logic right in the last elections in Karnataka, a significant role was played by Yeddyurappa in this victory, in the caste dynamics, and he treated it as if it was indeed his own personal victory. So it was quite natural that he would be the Chief Minister of the state.

Now it is an open secret in every state of India that the victorious party fills its coffers through corruption, and the rulers ensure that their wealth and that of their families increases tremendously; the main caveat is that it should be done in a deniable way and where any evidence for this is hard to come by. This was something that Yeddyurappa ignored, and it was bound to happen. There was enough documentary evidence to show that allegations against him were plausible enough (especially in land deals to his sons) that they needed further investigation. And this matter festered for some time, with the media highlighting this again and again, and the BJP unable to get him to step down. This caused huge problems to the BJP, since everytime it screamed corruption against the Congress, they screamed back ‘Yeddyurappa’.
It was only when the Lokayukta came out with a report against him was the pressure enough that he had to step down even though he felt that he had not done anything different from what his predecessors had done and was being victimized. Most of all, the impression that went around was that he felt that the BJP had not done anything to support him, after all that he had done to bring the BJP to power in Karnataka. When a new Chief Minister was installed in the state (with his advice and support), soon he realized that once a person became powerful, they do not listen to anybody else and so it happened. The Chief Minister who was installed with his support soon stopped listening to Yeddyurappa. His pressure tactics continued, but there were 2 demands at which the BJP drew a red line – they would not make him Chief Minister, and they would not make him the head of the state unit. Doing either of that would ensure that the BJP would not be able to raise its head on the matter of corruption (a different matter that the Gadkari problem is already hitting them in the same place). And so when Yeddyurappa stated that he would leave the party, that was another pressure tactic, but the BJP must have done its calculations and decided that it was better to let him go. Further, leaders who have left the BJP and not joined another party have not really done well (Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, etc) and so maybe the same thing would apply for Yeddyurappa. Only time will tell whether he caused enough of a caste imbalance to sway the election away from the BJP, since it does not have much of a development plank to campaign for.




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