How BJP allowed Yediyurappa to become Sonia

T.J.S. GEORGE writes: Crippled by corruption, Karnataka is now brutalised by blackmail.

Corruption was the collective contribution of all parties. What the Congress carried on quietly, the JD(S) took up with gusto and BJP turned into a celebration. Blackmail is the exclusive contribution of the BJP.

Congressmen can’t think of it because they shudder before their High Command. In the BJP, the High Command shudders before B.S. Yediyurappa. Yediyurappa’s victory is BJP’s tragedy—and Karnataka’s misfortune.

Look at the misfortune first. Historically one of India’s best-governed states, Karnataka witnessed audacious misuse of power from the day BJP’s first chief minister took office. He and some of his colleagues focused on illegal land transactions as a major activity of government.

The principal financiers of the party, the Bellary lobby, took to plain plundering of the state’s good earth in violation of many laws. Wounded by its keepers, Karnataka bled.

When half a dozen ministers, including the chief minister, were jailed, prudence demanded a moment’s pause.

The BJP as a party and the state government as a constitutional entity should have re-looked at where they were going. They didn’t. Instead, they mounted a show of defiance, politicians looking for loopholes in the law and the Bellary Brotherhood making a suspected bid to bribe a judge. The judge landed in jail in a demonstration of the ugliness of today’s politics.

The neglect of governance could not have happened at a more inopportune moment. The state was in the grip of a serious drought, but water resources minister Basavaraj Bommai had no time to bother about it. Farmers were facing starvation, but agriculture minister Umesh Katti was busy with resignation games.

A grand show was held a couple of months ago to attract big-ticket investments to the state. Industrialists were upset that not a file moved since the show because industries minister Murugesh Nirani was in the plot to topple the chief minister.

All this to satisfy one man’s ambition.

So all-consuming was Yediyurappa’s passion for power that even after coming out of jail, he acted as though nothing untoward had happened.  He spent his not-negligible resources to keep a few dozen MLAs on his side.

This support base was a weapon with which he threatened the party bosses in Delhi, knowing well that the bosses would go to any length to see that the BJP did not lose Karnataka. Although his threats were effective, Yediyurappa knew that he was too tainted to become chief minister in one go.

He had a solution to that problem too. He found in foe-turned-friend Jagadish Shettar the fittest person to become the Manmohan Singh of Karnataka, and let him, Yediyurappa, be the Sonia Gandhi of Karnataka.

The puzzle is that the BJP’s leaders in Delhi do not see that approving Yediyurappa’s scheme is equal to approving corruption. They are said to condone Yediyurappa’s record, including the jailing, so as to ensure the allegiance of the Lingayat community.

First of all, will the BJP really gain by doing what no party has openly done before, namely, split Karnataka into Lingayats (17 per cent), Vokkaligas (15 per cent) and others (68 per cent)?

Second, how do they know that the silent majority of Lingayats will accept the position that they have no leader other than the second most tainted politician in Karnataka’s history (after Janardhana Reddy)? This is a community that gave India one of its noblest philosophical creeds. It has a proud public record and several eminent leaders.

On the other hand, a principled stand against the threat politics of Yediyurappa could have given the BJP a swing in its favour. Yediyurappa’s flaunted support base is sustained by the feeling among BJP legislators that his bullying will put him back in power. Call that bluff and the support will melt away.

The Congress and the JD (S) are in a mess, which gives the BJP a reasonable chance to beat them at the next election. But the rivals have a propaganda plank that is powerful: that the BJP promotes corruption officially. The BJP could have demolish that plank. All it needed was some guts.

Cartoon: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today

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23 Responses to “How BJP allowed Yediyurappa to become Sonia”

  1. Deepak Says:

    Agree with everything the author says!! BJP has disgraced themselves by kow-towing to Yeddy. They will get their just desserts in the next election. Also In 2014 BJP will struggle to get 10 seats and BJP will suffer in Govt. formation at the centre and only then Gadkari and Co. will realise their folly

  2. harkol Says:

    Entirely wrong analysis.

    Yeddy was the Sonia of Sadananda Gowda’s MMS. But, it didn’t turn out that way, and S. Gowda showed an independent streak, and tried to work provide a cleaner administration.

    That wasn’t to yeddy’s liking, so he is trying to find a new MMS. But, this one is likely to end up undermining Yeddy completely. Shettar will swallow the Lingayat leadership from Yeddy, and yeddy will be left holding the baby (Scam cases).

    Yeddy tried to be too smart, lost all sympathy of BJP. Now, BJP will play a smart game of retaining Lingayat votes, figure a way to retain the Coastal (Bunt, Brahmin & Konkani) votes by some way and figure a way to completely isolate Yeddy over time.

    No leader who has defied BJP central leadership (read Advani & co) have ever prospered.

    Yeddy’s & son’s days are numbered.

  3. Nastika Says:

    Only reason DVS is removed from being CM today is because BJP thinks his *caste* is not right.

    If this is not casteist, then what it is?

    Right now BSY is the most powerful person in BJP.
    DVS was CM, not Shettar is because of BSY.
    Shettar is now CM, not DVS is because of BSY.

    Now, if BJP has even some plan (say short term vision), then it would have chosen Shettar 11 months ago for the same reasons he is being chosen now. So much so for seniority, experience et all in making decisions.


  4. naanavanalla Says:

    TJS George wouldn’t have written against Sonia in past 10 years but he is blabbering against a regional leader here.

    the question is how intolerable even the press is on the rise of the stability ( in form of yediyurappa ) .
    people cannot tolerate that someone who is eating anna saaru and speaking local lingo can ever be so powerful . so they start creating cobwebs.

    both kumaraswamy and sadananda took power and backstabbed,

    atleast yediyurappa reinstated that ‘kotta kudure yeridavanu veeranu alla shooranu alla’

    this will be a good beginning for the cowards like Devegowda (who wanted to not being born in this state and his son who married 3 times changing religion and making false promises to his meek wives and sadananda gowda who thought some foreigner from north india will come and write tulu in devanagari.

  5. Prashant Says:

    I think this is the bane of democracy (mostly illiterate populace) which ensures that the castes with numbers can go to any length and corner all benefits. The same is true in all states not only Karnataka.

  6. jayashree Says:

    Karnataka “Poor no more”!
    Yuga yugadi kaledaru, Yedi marali barutide!

  7. Later Says:

    SEcond-most corrupt politician tag in Karnataka goes to Kumarswamy and Gang, not Yeddy. Yeddy stands third in corruption. Kumaraswamy and gang has killed all the proofs, they are real criminals, more dangerous than Reddy gang!

  8. BG Subhash Says:

    Karnataka Politics /Vidhana soudha today is where “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.” I wonder How Kannadigas on earth (I am one) elect wicked and vilest men/women and send them to vidhana soudha to administer us!

  9. kris Says:


    Advani & co are the real culrits who are the root cause all the mess in Karnataka BJP. Even RSS is trying to get rid of this old SOB.

    It started with Anant Kumar and Sushma Swaraj (with Advani’s blessing) using Reddy brothers to get to BSY, which got out of hand.

    JD(S) and Congress used this opportunity along with governor Bharadwaj and Lokayukta judge Hegde to tarnish BJP to the level it is today.

    Advani wanted his chela Anant Kumar to become Karnataka CM. Ironocally, he did not want Karnataka to become like Modi’s Gujarat which suited very well with JD(s) and Congress.

  10. alok Says:

    My guess is that BJP will face a rout in the coming elections of 2013; even if we take the entire lingayat community for granted – which is as a community replete with zealots who’d rather vote a most corrupt government led by a tainted leader back into power, than an alternative whom they could at least hope to dispose off the corrupt as and when their guilt is corroborated adequately, all courtesy of a strong high command – even if we dare make such a presumption, still Yeddy won’t be able to pull it off all by himself. In 2008, he had public sympathies with him, backed by a relatively clean image – this time there can be neither. Sriramulu’s triumph and Udupi by-election loss are harbingers of the eroding voter trust in the BJP. Jagadish Shettar lacks the pan-karnataka charisma to draw in the numbers, and Yeddy’s image has suffered successive dents which will take him time to recover from. Yeddy surely won’t let Shettar rise beyond the current term, but that doesn’t mean he will lead the campaign trail himself either, keeping in mind the central BJP’s larger interest of 2014. Then who will be BJP’s face (if not face saver) for 2013?

    I don’t get why TGS George finds Congress and JD(S) to be in a mess – they are far and away NOT, compared to the cesspool the BJP is in. Congress looks pathetic at the centre, but then, people do vote differently for state and general elections. The verdict might well result in a hung assembly after all, and the frustrating years of coalition politics could be revisited upon the subjects of the state. I am hoping that Congress gets a majority this time, only so that the unscrupulous JD(S) doesn’t get to play its bait and blackmail games all over again.

  11. Faldo Says:

    It is true that the latest developments in the state are worrisome. However, it is true that democracy is a game of numbers. Most political commentators who talk about stronger action from the party’s high command fail to grasp this fact. In this case, the group with numbers on its side got the upper hand. Ironically the BJP finds itself in this situation because it allowed the wishes of the faction with the most numbers on its side, which is supposed to be the democratic option as opposed to the despotic action of foisting a leader from the top, which is followed by.a host of other parties. Unlike these other parties one family or individual does not call the shots in the BJP.

    It is all well to say that the part could have sacrificed its government or called for fresh elections. There is no saying if this would have happened. For all we know, a breakaway group could have been propped up with the help of one or more of the opposing parties, supported by a willing governor. In fact this has happened in the not too recent past. This is something the party would have wanted to avoid at any cost. As far as what these developments mean to the party it is anybody’s guess. Most indicators point towards a fractured verdict in the next elections. which could lead to a prolonged spell of instability.

  12. Deepak Says:

    The real culprits are the mathadipathis who fell over each other to give Yeddy a clean chit! Had they not backed him first time, he would have quit silently and none of this would have happened. The mathadipathis who took official bribes from Yeddy returned the favour by supporting him and landed the state and BJP into this unholy mess.

  13. kariyappa Says:

    Yeddyurappa is neither Sonia, nor Shettar a Manmohan Singh!

    Yeddyurappa has neither become Sonia Gandhi, nor Jagadish Shettar is going to be Manmohan Singh. It seems our senior journalist, TJS George, went wrong in speculating how developments might turn in the days to come. The moment Shettar stepped inside residence of BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar in Bangalore on Monday he sent shockers to Yeddyurappa camp.

    Probably Yeddyurappa is alone sulking in a corner of his residence in Dollar’s Colony. With his experience in politics of maneuverings, he understands what would be his fate better than MLAs in his camp. When a close confidant in Sadananda Gowda turned his back on him, Yeddyurappa is not political-fool to believe that his long-time foe and short-time friend Shettar will ever be loyal to him.

    And, as Dinesh Ameen Mattu in his weekly column in Prajavani wrote, if at all Shettar decides, he has many reasons, to defy Yeddyurappa. Being a younger to Yeddyurappa, a BJP leader from north Karnataka and holding comparatively better image than Yeddyurappa, Shettar has every chance to succeed in his efforts.

    If the incumbent government completes its full term, the next assembly elections are due in 11 months. Yeddyurappa has no chance to come out clean in all corruption cases he is fighting in courts, within this short time. The BJP, given its vote base in Lingayat belt in north Karnataka, finds better a chief minister candidate in Shettar than Yeddyurappa in the next elections.

  14. Mahe Says:

    We the general public are to be blamed for the state of affairs today in Karnataka. Caste had a role in power before too, but this has gone too far. Yeddy has brought about a divide in the society in the name of caste for his own selfish reasons. Another reason for this is people themselves have become corrupt. God only save Karnataka.

  15. BG Subhash Says:

    For what BJP & Karnataka leaders have done, People of karnataka must decide once for all that whenever BJP fellows go for public bhashans from now to next elections , throw cow dung, Eggs and left over pallya at them. Hoot them continuously and don`t allow them to speak! They must be taught a lesson!

  16. avi Says:

    Actuallly it is Yediyurappa who is at loss with this move – and BJP know this very well. Yedi never wanted Shettar to be the CM. He just wanted to create some or other problems to BJP (at the behest of madam) and this was just one. But BJP this time took risk and played its card very well. Yedi will be cornered now. He will neither be here (in BJP) nor in Congress (because he wont get much of Lingayat votes – since it is Shettar now). And that is the reason Advani might have agreed for this change.

  17. Simple Says:

    Fanatical Brahmins , fanatical traders and fanatical lingayats are the only ones who will vote for BJP in 2013. The rest 75% will ensure a crushing defeat for BJP. I just did a dipstick study of about 50 urban people (relatives, friends, colleagues) who voted for BJP last time. 41 of them said they are regretting they voted for BJP! They will NEVER vote for BJP in 2013.

    What is remarkable about this ‘PURE culturally nationalistic’ party is the BRAZEN way it supports rapists, looters, criminals, blue-film experts, corrupt ministers and all kinds of tainted men and women.

    Buzz is that the 3 ministers who were watching porn will be back in the cabinet.
    Buzz is that tainted Ashoka will be the Deputy CM
    Buzz is that tainted Murugest will be back in the cabinet.
    Buzz is that Yeddi, caught in a dozen scandals will continue to call shots.
    Buzz is that sex tained Halappa and Renukacharya will be back in the cabinet.

    Nobody clean will be allowed in the cabinet. That is the culture of BJP. Gadkari has openly stated that the Karnataka Chair is reserved only for LINGAYATS.

  18. Anonymous Guy Says:


    To the list of jaatiyate minded Lingayats and Brahmins, you can add baniyas from north India who now provide significant funding for BJP in urban areas.

    The BJP has taken Karnataka to new depths. It has made it on par with north Indian states with respect to corruption and culture. Negative minded RSS has nothing positive to offer, only more of the same hate and narrow mindedness. But anything founded in negativity will show itself, as has been obvious to public in the various scams and infighting in Karnataka. Elections will be interesting indeed – what new negative, destructive experiments will RSS try to use this time?

  19. BG Subhash Says:

    Mind you. Karnataka is not a state where BJP has been licensed by its people to experiment. People of karnataka need development, development & development. It is already almost 4 years are over. e are yet to see devlopment activity, but we are seeing corruption & infighting. Many projects whiuch must have come to Karnataka has gone to neighboring states when the investor sees that there is only NATAKA IN KARNATAKA and no developmental activities. Kannada people are really cursing themselves that we have brought a very big devil bigger than congress/JD(S). Has any one of the BJP leaders got guts to come and face the TV channel by questioning by people. They are nothing but cowards

  20. Freewill Says:

    The only reason why BJP performed the way it did during vajpayee’s rule was because of vajpayee and no one else. Let’s say if he wasn’t there, their government would have fallen in a couple of months. Imagine this, I was the biggest supporter of BJP before it came to power and even campaigned for them in Bangalore but today if you ask me whether I would do the same.. Absolutely no. Not even vote for them because they played caste card and supported Yeddy overlooking humongous corruption for the sake of cheap support. I am a brahmin, but i wouldn’t accept a politician, just because he is a brahmin. This is not urbanized thinking but wise one. If lingayats defeat yeddy in his own game and rise above this caste voting, I’d believe that lingayats have grown wise.

  21. Deepak Says:

    @Freewell, I agree with your view. Yes, BJP doesn’t deserve our vote in Karnataka, but then who do we vote for? Congress? Is there anything/anyone in that party that matters? or JDS? Acknowledged casteist and corrupt party? Thats the problem for the voters of Karnataka, the TINA factor may still ensure that BJP ends up as single largest party and we have another round of 20-20 politics!

  22. harkol Says:

    Freewill: +1

    You are so right. We simply can’t stick to voting on party lines (leave alone on caste lines). We should evaluate the options in each elections and choose on the basis of what is right at that juncture.

    I am another BJP voter till 2004, but voted for Congress (MMS) 2009 but turned sour. Same with Karnataka BJP.I won’t vote for BJP in next Assembly election, and won’t vote congress in 2014 parliament election.


    and again bjp only wins in karnataka in 2013 elections also

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