The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must be ruing coming to power in
Karnataka and holding up the state as a gateway to rule south
India. In the last four years, the party has been facing a series
of scandals centred around money, land and sex.
Worse is the shallow stand taken by the state and central BJP
leaders when their embers are caught flouting rules and indulging
in illegal deals and other corruption scandals.
In the latest, the party had little option but to ask three
ministers -- Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil and J. Krishna Palemar --
to resign. Savadi and Patil were found watching porn clip in the
assembly Tuesday on the cell phone of Palemar.
The explanation that followed show the BJP is either confused
because it cannot take the moral high ground or it believes that
inanities will fool the people.
The party high command did not ask for the resignations. The
ministers quit on their own, claimed Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda
Gowda, his predecessor and scam-hit B.S. Yeddyurappa and the state
BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa.
The reason the three leaders gave for the resignations was like
bolting the stable after the horses have fled.
"The three did not want to embarrass the government or the party,"
the leaders explained, as if the very act of watching a porn clip
in the house had not already stripped the party of all its
pretensions that it was the only one to be guided by moral force.
Laws of the land bar use of cell phones in the legislatures,
something BJP law makers flouted with impunity.
The leadership has no clue on how to rein in a state unit that has
been running wild and brought insult to the party as well as to
the once well-governed state of Karnataka.
The unabated slide in BJP's reputation began soon after the party
came to power in the state.
"My predecessors have done the same," Yeddyurappa said famously
when allegations of favouring his kin with prime land in and
around Bangalore began within months of him taking over in May
He maintains the same stand even now.
Party president Nitin Gadkari did one better.
"What Yeddyurappa has done may be immoral. They are not illegal,"
he said, when he should have wielded the whip to discipline his
Instead of asserting its self proclaimed moral authority, the
party's mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), continues
to act coy and say that it does not interfere in BJP affairs.
But the RSS interferes, very publicly at that, when it needs to --
to force unity among warring factions.
It did that recently to bring truce between Yeddyurappa, who is
publicly seeking reinstatement as chief minister, and Eshwarappa.
The BJP in Karnataka remains a badly divided house and hence it is
unlikely to seek the resignation of Savadi, Patil and Palemar from
the assembly. Savadi and Patil are considered Yeddyurappa
The assembly is scheduled to be adjourned Feb 10. It may end early
if the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular continue to block
proceedings demanding the immediate expulsion of the three from
The BJP's history of short rule in Karnataka indicates the party
will try to brazen it out till pushed to a corner to act.
A poor commentary on a party that seeks to make a dent in the
ongoing elections in five states and claims the mood in India
favours its return to power in New Delhi.
(V.S. Karnic can be contacted at email@example.com)