[Update: The so-called 'resolution' of the crisis in Karnataka is at best a temporary truce between the Reddy Brothers and Yeddyurappa. Shettar resigning from Speaker's office to join the Cabinet is only the first step; it's a matter of time before he decides to make a renewed dash for the Chief Minister's chair. The Reddy Brothers will not be satiated by sops like greater say in policy-framing, transfer-postings of bureaucrats (which speaks a lot about our babus and their links with 'businessmen') and easing of cases against them. By the way, since when has the BJP decided to short-circuit the law of the land to remain in power? And with what face will the party now criticise the Congress for short-circuiting the law to favour its own? I think it's a terrible idea to have two central leaders minding Karnataka affairs as it will lead to further groupism in both party and Government. But we will now have Arun Jaitley managing party affairs and Sushma Swaraj minding the Reddy Brothers -- the 'coordination committee' is so much hogwash and no more. The 'resolution' of the crisis only strengthens my contention that organisation now means nothing for those who have the clout to thumb their nose at the party's national leadership, such as it is with its moral authority lying in tatters. Why else would the Reddy Brothers have been allowed to set the terms of engagement via one individual over the party organisation?]
It’s been a week since the ‘Reddy Brothers’ of Bellary rocked the BS Yeddyurappa Government. Not much progress seems to have been made by those working on resolving the crisis and preventing the BJP’s first Government in a southern State from collapsing on account of infighting within its ranks and more than a gentle nudge from those who contested and won the last Assembly election on the BJP symbol but owe no allegiance to either the party or the RSS.
Some points that merit attention:
. Official denials notwithstanding, few are willing to discount media reports (confirmed by unnamed sources within the party) that a national leader of the BJP from Karnataka is involved in fomenting trouble for Yeddyurappa. Details of his reported meeting with the ‘Reddy Brothers’ and travel by a Congress legislator’s plane to meet leading dissident Jagadish Shettar, who is the Assembly Speaker and aspires to become Chief Minister, have not strengthened the image of the party’s central leadership.
. Yeddyurappa no doubt enjoys tremendous support among the people and his popularity is unquestionable. But this alone may not see the BJP through in a mid-term election. In the past, the BJP has lost mid-term elections despite the popularity of leaders like Kalyan Singh and Sunderlal Patwa; Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was barely able to scrape through. The BJP has lost in Himachal Pradesh despite excellent policies and programmes initiated by Shanta Kumar. This was more than a decade ago when the party’s organisation was strong, its central leadership carried credibility and its overall rating was high. None of these three factors obtains today.
. On Tuesday Yeddyurappa held out the proverbial olive branch to the ‘Reddy Brothers’ on their home turf by ‘acknowledging’ their ‘contribution’. But this has not cut any ice with the 'Reddy Brothers' -- till late Tuesday night, they were adamant that Yeddyurappa must go. If by 'acknowledging' the 'contribution' of the 'Reddy Brothers' Yeddyurappa was being pragmatic, he might as well have avoided a flash-point situation. I am no admirer of the ‘Reddy Brothers’, but having supped with them, perhaps Yeddyurappa needed to be more tactful if only to ensure stability of his Government.
. I am intrigued by the importance given to industrialist/entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrasekhar by the BJP Government. What exactly has been his contribution to the party? Does he subscribe to the Sangh’s ideology? Who are his backers? Raising these questions does not amount to questioning his abilities to supervise ‘Operation Lotus’ (the post-flood rehabilitation programme). But why is it that the BJP needs an ‘outsider’ to head a flagship programme?
. Some readers of this blog have outright rejected a Congress hand in the Karnataka shenanigans. I think there have been sufficient revelations since October 29 to bear out the contention that the Congress has been involved. The ‘Reddy Brothers’ are under pressure from the Congress on their mining operations in Andhra Pradesh. Let us not forget that they are businessmen first and politicians second; if push comes to shove they will gladly abandon Yeddyurappa if not the BJP.
. It is entirely possible that a power-sharing formula of sorts will be hammered out after Yeddyurappa arrives in Delhi on Wednesday and the Government will survive this crisis. But that is unlikely to ensure long-term stability. Cabals and groups will not be easily tamed. Having hugely damaged the party at the national level and lost when the stakes were high, these cabals and groups are now busy damaging what remains of the party in the States.Dilli4 is relentless!
As Henry Kissinger famously commented, when the stakes are low, the politics is high.