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BJP completes three years of controversy-ridden rule

Monday May 30, 2011 03:50:51 PM, V.S. Karnic, IANS

Bangalore: The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) first government in Karnataka completes three years Monday with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa battling corruption charges and the party central leadership fighting to douse a row over billionaire Reddy brothers.

Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa, 68, and the state BJP unit did not have any time to organise a huge celebration as both are recovering from the shock that Governor H.R. Bhardwaj administered by recommending dismissal of the government May 15.

For a week thereafter it was rallies and sit-in protests by ministers themselves to save the party's first government in southern India.

The central government rejected Bhardwaj's recommendation May 22.

The jubilation over the "victory" was, however, marred by union Home Minister P. Chidambaram's announcement of an "advisory" being sent to the Yeddyurappa government on how to conduct itself to ensure constitutional norms are followed.

As Yeddyurappa was still fuming over the central government's move, came senior party leader Sushma Swaraj's claim that she had no role in making the mining barons, the Reddy brothers - G. Janardhana and G. Karunakara - ministers in the state.

Janardhana is tourism minister and elder brother Karunakara handles the revenue portfolio.

By now Yeddyurappa seems to have learnt to live with controversies - his own making or caused by his colleagues in the state party unit and central leaders.

Dissidence against his leadership, three rebellions in three years, charges of favouring kin in land allotment in and around Bangalore, luring Congress and Janata Dal-Secular law makers to "defect" with offer of plum positions, benevolence to his "Lingayat" caste group - the litany of complaints against him has grown as the years of his rule passed by.

These have taken the sheen off his pet programmes - loan to farmers at one percent interest rate, Rs.10,000 in a bank deposit for every girl child born after he took office to be paid to them with interest on attaining 18 years and free cycles to students in rural areas to encourage them to attend schools.

For all the controversies dogging him, Yeddyurappa appears to have luck on his side, apart from the party's ability to muster resources and manpower, as the BJP has won several polls since 2008.

More than the creditable performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls when the party bagged 19 of the 28 seats, it has won almost all the by-elections to the assembly and periodic elections to the legislative council.

The by-polls were in fact forced by the BJP as it wooed Congress and JD-S law makers to quit the seats and contest the by-polls as its nominees.

The BJP and Yeddyurappa took up this "Operation Lotus" (lotus is the BJP's election symbol) to gain majority in the 225-member assembly that includes one nominated member.

The party had won 110 seats in the May 2008 polls but formed the government with the support of five Independents, all of whom were made ministers.

The party now has 120 members, including the speaker, in the assembly. The Congress has 71 and the JD-S 26. There are six independents and one seat is vacant.

The Congress and the JD-S dismiss the BJP's by-poll victory as "sham" as it was "achieved by money power and abuse of official machinery".

Yeddyurappa claims people continue to vote for his party because of "the good work of my government".

The chief minister has major problems staring at him in the coming weeks, beginning with cabinet expansion.

He has to fill seven vacancies and the list of aspirants is too long, sure to leave many angry whenever he does it.

Karnataka's Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde is to submit within August his report on rampant illegal mining in the state.

The Supreme Court has already rapped the Yeddyurappa government for not doing enough to prevent it.

Yeddyurappa, his two sons, one of whom, B.Y. Raghavendra, is a BJP Lok Sabha member from the state, and son-in-law are facing charges of corruption and illegal land deals.

Bhardwaj has sanctioned Yeddyurappa's prosecution. Five complaints have been filed in a Bangalore court by two advocates against the chief minister, two sons, son-in-law and others.

However, the high court has stayed the proceedings in the court on a petition by son-in-law R. Sohan Kumar.

Against a backdrop of corruption charges, dissidence and a central leadership apparently not sure of who decides what in Karnataka on party and related matters, Yeddyurappa does not have much to celebrate expect that he still remains the chief minister.

(V.S. Karnic can be contacted at




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