BJP wants Yeddy’s votes… but not Yeddy ?

The man who brought the first and the only BJP Government to power in South India, B.S. Yeddyurappa, is being undermined by his own party… again.

The BJP High Command, from the time Yeddyurappa became the face of the Party in Karnataka, has been developing ‘Yeddy phobia’ and it continues…

They first neutralised Yeddyurappa with the Lokayukta report when in 2011, the BJP High Command forced Yeddyurappa to resign as Chief Minister (CM) for simply being named in a Lokayukta report. The reason given was that the BJP High Command at that time wanted to have the moral authority to attack UPA-II on corruption.

But the BJP at the Centre shockingly made a  weak call for the resignation of the then Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, who was named in the Shunglu report on CWG scam. How can the BJP force its own CM to resign based on a report and not apply the same rule on a senior opposition party leader?!

So, back then itself it was clear that the BJP High Command was uneasy with Yeddyurappa’s popularity and wanted to enfeeble him. And Yeddyurappa only made it too easy with his erratic decisions and emotional breakdowns.

Then after the HC cleared his name, the High Command refused to reinstate him as CM as promised by the then Party President Nitin Gadkari. In their indecision, they made Yeddyurappa seem like a greedy old man, who first said he wanted to be reinstated as the CM, then said he would not go to Delhi, then went to Delhi from where he was sent back empty-handed, then told they’ll make him the State President, which they finally did after a while.

Is this how you treat a leader who has worked for your party relentlessly and brought it to power? No, Amit Shah did not build BJP in Karnataka, Yeddyurappa did. But now the North Indian-dominated BJP top leadership wants to enjoy the benefits of Yeddyurappa’s sweat by calling the shots.

Yes, BJP has State leaders but leaders like C.T. Ravi, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, R. Ashok, K.S. Eshwarappa and Jagadish Shettar are not vote-getters. And leaders like Ananth Kumar are not even that — they are Delhi operators.

So why does BJP have ‘Yeddy phobia’? Is it because they don’t want to end up like Congress where a CM will start dictating terms to the High Command? Like in the case of Siddharamaiah and late CM of Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy? In a way, BJP too has become like old Congress where for everything one has to consult the Big Man from Gujarat sitting in Delhi?

Also where is the Kannada pride that most Kannadigas speak of when all our State’s political decisions are made by an MP from Gujarat?

Yes, Yeddyurappa asked for a ticket for his son  B.Y. Vijayendra. So what? And why not? It was a good match up to pit an ex-cm’s son against the sitting CM’s son. And Vijayendra’s chances were good.

If BJP is trying to stick to ‘no tickets for family policy’ then how come Janardhana Reddy’s family and associates got seven tickets? Also the way Vijayendra’s candidature was rejected was quite insulting. Amit Shah had visited Karnataka while  Vijayendra was campaigning in Varuna. He said nothing. So many assumed he had accepted Vijayendra’s candidature, only to reject him on the day of filing his nomination. By doing this, has BJP shown other State BJP leaders and its probable allies that Yeddy does not have any clout in the Party?

The way BJP has treated Yeddyurappa is not just an insult to the senior leader but also an insult to the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community whose only  Pan-Karnataka leader today is Yeddyurappa.

No wonder already WhatsApp messages are being passed around amongst Lingayat voters in Varuna that they should teach BJP a lesson and vote for NOTA.

Could it be that the CM seat and the Lingayat community’s jathaka do not match? History shows that Lingayat CMs are jinxed to never have a peaceful and complete CM term. Every one of the eight Lingayat CMs that Karnataka has had have never completed their full tenure nor have they had a smooth run.

The first Lingayat CM S. Nijalingappa had a conflict with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi which forced him out of office.

Next came the incomplete tenures of B.D. Jatti and S.R. Kanti. After them, it was Veerendra Patil, who clashed with the then Congress President Rajiv Gandhi and so was ousted.

Soon S.R. Bommai followed but within months he was out. Then in 1996 came J.H. Patel, who couldn’t keep his flock together and he too was gone.

Twelve years later, in 2008, came B.S. Yeddyurappa heralding BJP’s first government in Karnataka and we all know how that ended. The last Lingayat CM was Jagadish Shettar, a substitute CM, whose term ended with just 304 days in office.

Now Yeddy is getting ready yet again but it may be the same jinx, considering he might become CM only with the support of JD(S) that has already pulled the rug from under his feet once.

But if the BJP is able to form a government and  Amit Shah takes a call and decides to make Santoshji or Ananth Kumar as CM citing Yeddy’s age, corruption issues or by propping up old cases, then history will repeat itself.

Some may recall, in 1994 when rumours spread that Ramakrishna Hegde was trying to hijack the CM‘s post from H.D. Deve Gowda, there was violence in front of Vidhana Soudha where slippers were hurled at Ramakrishna Hegde.

Yeddyurappa’s biggest disadvantage is that he has no one in the High Command to put in a good word. It is an open secret that Ananth Kumar, being part of the High Command, has tried various tricks to get the coveted CM’s chair and by the looks of it, the tricks still continue.

Now, the BJP should remember that they may have sown the seed of BJP in Karnataka with Bangarappa but it bloomed under Yeddyurappa.  And if the lotus has to bloom again, they must stop belittling Yeddyurappa. Else they will forever be a lotus propped up with the support of a stake called JD(S), a stake that could slip or snap anytime like it happened in 2007.

e-mail: vikram@starofmysore.com

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