What kind of a challenge does the rise of BS Yeddyurappa in BJP pose to the Siddaramaiiah Government in Karnataka? And is this another step towards Modi-Amit Shah move to make the country Congress-free? Vijay Grover tries to find answer to the questions being asked in Bengaluru
The "Return of Yeddyurappa" to centre-stage of Karnataka politics in the wake of his anointment as the State unit president of BJP clearly demonstrates that the vote catching potential of the tallest Lingayat leader in Karnataka politics is still very much alive.
The Yeddyurappa camp is overjoyed that Ugadi has brought good news for them. The elevation of BS Yeddyurappa is being seen as an important step through the rank and file of the BJP to attack the last big State in the country yet ruled by Congress.
The BJP top brass had unceremoniously ousted Yeddyurappa as several corruption charges surfaced against him during his tenure as Chief Minister. A miffed Yeddyurappa had not only stepped down from the stewardship of the State but also resigned from the party. He soon went on to form the Karnataka Janata Party, a regional outfit. He had to merge it with the BJP after the debacle in 2013 State polls which saw the S Siddaramaiah-led Congress riding to power.
While in 2014 general elections he was elected an MP from Shimoga but a berth in the Central Ministry eluded him since the corruption cases against him continued in the Karnataka. With most of the charges against him including the role in the mining scam not being established in courts of law, Yeddyurappa has managed to walk free after the High Court quashed proceedings on 15 FIR’s filed against him.
The BJP high command’s decision to anoint Yeddyurappa may be a crucial move on the part of the BJP president Amit Shah. And this may go a long way in boosting the sagging morale of the BJP State unit. Party workers recall how Yeddyurappa single handedly had brought the BJP to power in Karnataka, opening the party’s gateway to the South. “His entry will be a boost to the party. Yeddyurappa has demonstrated on several occasions that the people of the State appreciate his contributions, especially the pro-poor, pro-farmer works he did as Chief Minister of the State” said Basavaraj Bommai, a senior BJP leader while talking to Policy Pulse.
The elevation has triggered a debate on the social media platforms and corruption cases against him are being debated and discussed. Twitter was abuzz with detractors questioning his ascent. Party, however, is upbeat about this as its old hats feel that it will bring life to the BJP in the State and give it the first mover advantage towards 2018 Assembly polls in the State.
But there are questions like whether the tallest Lingayat leader will get a free hand to choose his team and lead the party to elections. And how difficult will it be for him to lead the State unit? It all depends on the leaders who might feel displaced from the centre-stage. The Ananth Kumar camp which feels upstaged with removal of Prahlad Joshi may end up creating fresh hurdles.
But clearly, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress Government whose now three-year long reign went nearly unchallenged will now have to brace up for a fresh set of attacks from Yeddyurappa. His political base and sinew lie in rural Karnataka. He may well use the drought dogging nearly half the State as a weapon for the assault. Maybe the drought affected farmers needed a voice. And many guess that Yeddyurappa would give the kind of vent that it deserves.