A sacrificial pawn on Yediyurappa’s chess board

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: Jagadish Shettar, who has been catapulted to the position of chief minister-designate in Karnataka, has been nothing but a political pawn in the game of political chess being played by the scam-tainted B.S. Yediyurappa.

He got a break in 1994 when, as a low-level party functionary, he was asked to take on Basavaraj Bommai, son of the former chief minister, S.R. Bommai, in the Hubli rural assembly constituency, a bastion of Janata Dal.

It was an impossible task by any standard for novice in politics like Shettar but he pulled it off thanks to the afterglow of the controversy over hoisting the national flag at Idgah Maidan, which had been carefully orchestrated by the BJP and had hogged national attention.

Shettar’s role in the controversy was of a subsidiary nature but he emerged a giantkiller thanks to the BJP strategy, and the hand of Yediyurappa was clearly seen in the gamble.

After that, what aided Shettar’s rise was the manipulative politics that Yediyurappa played to keep his rivals at bay inside the party. A one-term legislator like Shettar overnight became a leader of opposition in the Karnataka assembly, superseding many of the seniors in 1999.

The vacancy had been caused because of the shock defeat of Yediyurappa in his home constituency, Shikaripur. Yediyurappa was averse to the post going to anybody else, with senior leaders like B.B. Shivappa, former state party present from Hassan, being one of the main aspirants.

Yediyurappa preferred a rank junior like Shettar, who would be able to keep the seat warm when he would enter the assembly again, which he did in the next elections in 2004. Shettar quietly paved way for Yeddyurappa assuming the role of the Leader of the Opposition once again.

But in 2004 a new situation arose.

The post of the party president fell vacant with the incumbent Basavaraj Patil Sedam demitting his office after the expiry of the term. And Yediyurappa once again plumped for his trusted understudy and as a consequence Shettar moved up one more notch to become the state party president.

In the coalition government which BJP formed in 2006 with the Janata Dal (Secular), Shettar became a minister for the first time.

Shettar, who had seen the benefits of being faithful and friendly with Yediyurappa, soon experienced the latter’s ire. Thus, Shettar was deliberately denied a berth in the first full-fledged BJP government in 2008.

Shetttar sulked publicly and chose to stay away from the swearing-in ceremony when the national leadership of the BJP had descended on Bangalore to witness the historic occasion of the BJP opening its account in the South of the Vindhyas.

Thanks to the intervention of the national leadership, Yediyurappa, who had firmly set his foot against giving a ministerial berth to Shettar, was prevailed upon to make him the Assembly Speaker. Shettar was initially reluctant to accept but had to do so since there was no alternative.

What he did as Speaker is history.

He played a key role in “Operation Kamala” engineered by Yediyurappa with the connivance of the Reddy group of ministers to entice the opposition legislators into BJP with a view to help party gain majority on its own in the 224 member assembly.

He exercised the powers vested in him as Speaker in favour of Yediyurappa by quickly accepting the resignations submitted by the aspirants from the opposition much to the discomfiture of Congress and the JDS, in a manner reminiscent of what Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed did in the seventies in signing Indira Gandhi‘s proclamation of Emergency, despite the procedural flaws in the move.

On two occasions, Shettar very nearly became the Chief Minister but for Yediyurappa.

During the open rebellion by the Reddy group, Shettar emerged as their chosen candidate to replace Yediyurappa.

Later when Yediyurappa had to step down from office in the wake of his indictment by Lok Ayukta, Yediyurappa was unwilling to accept Shettar’s candidature as his successor and got him defeated by forcing the election at the legislature party meet.

Twice bitten, Shettar, who had in the meantime become Minister, was unwilling to take a risk this time. He made up with Yediyurappa as a consequence of which he was considered an apt replacement for D.V. Sadananda Gowda whom Yediyurappa was hell bent on pulling down and helped Shettar to make his dream come true.

A daunting task awaits Shettar as he steps into his new role. The party is a shambles; its image has taken a battering because .of the internecine quarrels and has a fresh election to face in less than ten months.

It remains to be seen how a grateful Shettar would oblige his friend turned foe turned friend, Yediyurappa, in his new avatar.  He has  two options left. He can hang on to the umbilical chord of Yediyurappa and kowtow to his every whim and fancy, especially in shielding him from the maze of the legal cases surrounding him.

If he wants to cut away the chord Shettar risks the fate that awaited his predecessor Sadananda Gowda, who as a friend-turned foe of Yediyurappa made it to the chair of the Chief Minister but lost it in 11 months.

File photograph: Jagadish Shettar with his wife Shilpa (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: Why ‘Oye Lucky‘ could be Jagadish Shettar‘s film

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28 Responses to “A sacrificial pawn on Yediyurappa’s chess board”

  1. Deepak Says:

    Shettar will do to Yeddy what DVS did – no doubt about it. Shettar is a good man, but he cannot do anything because Yeddy will not allow him to function. This Govt. is doomed.

  2. vaidya Says:

    “In the coalition government which BJP formed in 2006 with the Janata Dal (Secular), Shettar became a minister for the first time.

    Shettar, who had seen the benefits of being faithful and friendly with Yediyurappa, soon experienced the latter’s ire.”

    Wait…something missing between the two paragraphs? Why did he suddenly “experience the latter’s ire”?

  3. Nitin Ningaiah Says:

    Thank you for writing this, clearly stating specificying the backend politics and gist about our new CM.
    Couple of things i was interested was , how did yeddy has gained a blind faith from his followers, what ever pawn he’s trying to play a blind heard of sheep’s following him. surprised about the amount of credibility he has gained,

    Also how Ashok gained so much trust and confidence, heading home and transport and DCM, astonishing!

  4. Mathihalli Gururaja Rao Says:

    a good introduction of the 4th c.m of Karnataka. He has to look back, for the next CM to be named in coming months. Madan Mohan contributing a lot for Karnataka state politics….

  5. the colonel Says:

    cut the umblical cord. and flourish. or……………..

  6. chanakya Says:

    So, Yeddyurappa has proved that he is worst then Devegowda. Till now, Devegowda was the most nasty political character in the state. Yeddyurappa has overtaken him now…

  7. alok Says:

    It’s a tricky situation Shettar is entering into, but he has an advantage which Gowda didn’t have: he has very little time left in his term of rule, which means he can afford to make bold moves as he will have nothing to lose anyway. It’s unlikely that BJP will get a majority next time, still less with the tainted Yeddy at the helm of its affairs, so Shettar has the opportunity of his life to display his independent streak and emerge a new ray of hope among the Lingayat community reeling under its Yeddy baggage. It won’t be as easy for Yeddy to confront or dethrone Shettar, since he is (unlike Gowda) a popular leader and moreover a Lingayat; a vertical split in the Lingayat community, should Yeddy decide to topple Shettar, will only help diminish Yeddy’s significance to his party. Thus, it is in the long-term interest of the BJP and Karnataka politics that Shettar go for the kill and not submit to his ‘benefactor’s whims.

  8. asha Says:

    When Shettar was a minister in Yeddy’s cabinet it was shettar’s brother and sister in law who ran the ministry….it is anybody’s guess who will be the super CM when he becomes the CM….

  9. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    What’s with avva and ayya sporting that Mexican headgear?

  10. dr ramesh Says:

    adu buddhivantara lakshana, bere avaru tamage topi haako munna taave topi haaki kolluvudu.
    One can only wish good luck to shettar. Sadananda gowda brought a certain degree of dignity and respect to CM post, hope shettar does it too.

  11. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Real loss is to the JDS. Devegowda and Sons haven’t stopped crying since DVS resigned! LOL

  12. Gouri Satya Says:

    Now it is a three-legged race for Shettar with two Deputies to pull him right and left, and Yeddy watching for the sour grapes to fall.

  13. AlanJ Says:

    Pulikeshi the Last Says:
    12 July 2012 at 3:55 am

    What’s with avva and ayya sporting that Mexican headgear?

    It means they will go to the field and pick Tomatos in the hot Sun.

  14. avi Says:

    No Kumarswamy will start again all his antics (You can find him in media daily with some or other papers) against Shettar, like the way he did for Yeddi.

  15. Rastrakoota Says:

    @avi, Kumara needs to do this isnt it? What is opposition’s job otherwise? If Yeddi went to jail/lost the respect and finally lost the chair, its not just because of this campaign, he could not simply have survided by defending himself that corrutption was happening before I became CM and hence nothing wrong in me being corrupt! He is such a scum and everybody knows it.

  16. M. Basavaraj Says:

    Madan Mohan has done a good job of embarking on a journey down the memory lane visavis Jagadish Shettar’s ascendency to the seat of the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Thanks to him for narrating several events some of which I had lost track of with the passage of time. All of them crossed my mind all over again.

    I quite agree with Alok who has made a brilliant and realistic analysis of the present crisis in Karnataka.

  17. vshivapura Says:

    Exactly Avi…He and most of the people in congress largely believe in the following saying “Navu madidre chamathkara neevu madidre balatkara”….Because all the previous governments have done the De-notification/ have encouraged illegal mining/ have taken commission in allotting works/ have taken bribe during transfers of officers…its just that it is being showcased that all these have started during BJP’s rule
    One cong ex cm owns two of the biggest IT parks in blore….one more cong ex cm had allocated a G category site to his servant…there are many such examples but they dont get highlighted in media….

    And also I request all the gowda people to allow the Lingayat cm’s to work freely and also vice versa in the larger interest of the state…Whenever a lingayat is made as the CM…gowda’s use all sorts of tricks to get him down at any cost….if Lingayat ppl are supporting yeddy today even after he lost the cm post a year ago it is because of the same reason…right from the day Yeddy became CM….Kumaraswamy was very active and he was no where to be seen in the last 11 months of DVS rule….Best ex is some Guy called Chikkarange “gowda” in the name of Jana jagruthi vedike has already filed a de-notification case against shettar whereas when sadananda gowda was building a complex combining two BDA sites none of these gowda’s even bothered

  18. M Says:

    Looks like Nehur’s Topi has been replaced by Shettar-Hat (Shat)

  19. Nastika Says:

    > all the previous governments have done the De-notification….
    What was Yeddy doing at that time when he was in opposition? Waiting for his time to commit crime? Why didn’t he raise the alarm then?

    > One cong ex cm owns two of the biggest IT parks in blore
    Did that CM buy those IT parks with Govt money? What was Yeddy doing at that time?

    > one more cong ex cm had allocated a G category site to his servant
    Luckily that CM (unlike Yeddy) didn’t allot to himself. I guess that servant would be from lower middle class or poor and he is Karnataka Govt employee. If he is eligible, then whats wrong in getting a site?
    Yeddy gave 100 crores to temples. You don’t have any objection?

    > all the gowda people to allow the Lingayat cm work freely…
    Hope you don’t mean to kick start illegal mining, de-notification et all.

    > Kumaraswamy was very active and he was no where to be seen in the last 11 months of DVS rule
    I guess HDK delegated his job of opposition leader to Yeddy when DVS was CM and boy, Yeddy did succeeded in bringing DVS down.


  20. narayana, narayana! Says:

    Sadly, in this Yeddy’s game of chess, willy-nilly, he is ensuring the return of dodda Gowda family that may team up with Congress or vice versa. In the next elections, BJP will lose the 80% to stick by the 20% Lingayat vote. And the bigger loss will be BJP’s loss of face on the national scene when the time comes to choose between NDA or UPA in 2014.
    Yaaradaru buddhivada heli BJP ge.

  21. Prof. Rao Says:

    The most recent disgusting drama with these caste-oriented, completely corrupt politicians desperately scrambling with total disregard to their own people (watching on live TV) to secure a cabinet role and then the highest rewarding portfolio (ATM to ruthlessly loot) is a classic example of how politics and governance in our country and state has now descended to levels worse than that in any African banana republic.

    While it is a foregone conclusion that the BJP will not be back in power in Karnataka for a long time, it is high-time the record is set straight: Yeddi and clan have indeed been the biggest looters ever and he continues to prosper thanks to his well-paid godfather’s in the high-command, Sadananda Gowda intentionally did not get a new Lokayukta of Karnataka for almost a year now nor did an iota of development work in South Kanara, the current cabinet has some of the most-noted corrupt sharks the state has endured. Regretfully the meek opposition, especially the Cong-I has so-called leaders who have been openly hand-in-glove with the ongoing, record-setting corruption.

    Despite RTI petitions and a so-called Prevention of Corruption Act or crusaders like N. Santosh Hegde, S R Hiremath of Samaj Parivartana Samudaya , Judge N K Sudhindra Rao, Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev, lawyers like Sirajin Basha and K N Balraj or sustained and well documented PIL’s from the common man, the current crop of the worst kind of politicians imaginable, are determined to swiftly milk Karnataka’s remaining resources completely dry and put us all neck-deep in debt.
    With no future for our children…

  22. amithpallavoor Says:

    I don’t think Sadananda Gowda was allowed to function freely. Reports have it that Yeddy used to make him wait endlessly to clear files. Tired of this, DVS started working on his own, which
    apparently riled Yeddy and led to his ouster. Not to forget that MLA’s from Yeddy camp wanted funds to be released for their constituencies with out any proper justification.

    However, I would blame DVS for having pandered to the whims and fancies of the Vokkliga community. He had never played the caste card once before he became the CM. Yeddy effect I suppose. Lesser said about the role of Zealots who eulogize Yeddy and the various Lingayat Mutts, the better.

  23. Mune Gowda Says:

    Good article indeed, by Madan Mohan.

    The most corrupt politicians with ongoing court cases have successfully walked away with portfolios considered “most lucrative” leading to simmering discontent among the second line flunkies in the ‘old arrack new bottle’ Shettar cabinet, Those who could not ‘pay enough cash in advance’ have been palmed-off with lesser budget portfolios like sericulture, muzrai and textiles, among others.

    Former personal secretary of Yeddyurappa and now an overnight Minister, B J Puttaswamy was apparently hoisted by Yeddi has being equivalent to three ministers! Does it mean he can loot the state exchequer 3 times faster, compared to the others?

    Some of the tainted MLA’s now have baffling portfolios! C T Ravi is now the minister for ‘Higher Education’! CP Yogeshwar, V Somanna, Murugesh R Nirani, CT Ravi and MP Renukacharya have all got ‘super-premium’ departments. While Shettar is himself an accused, the Lokayukta special court is on the verge of arresting many of these tainted politicians in well-documented corruption cases.

    Sadly the regretful and retarded trend, aggressively promoted by Yeddi and gang is now the de-facto rule. Instead of spending precious time in their constituencies, districts and taluks to tackle drought alleviation, lack of medical, education, sanitation, crime, corruption or even basic roads, the newly crowned ministers top-most priority is to visit and offer ‘donation’ to the notorious mutts & seers who themselves are now under the Lokayukta’s scanner for encroachment and money laundering. In particular, unlike the rule of Cong-I when the high command and various underworld don’s blessing’s were most sought after, there now seems to be a long line to ‘seek protection’ from various Gods like Balagangadharanatha Swami of Adichunchanagiri Math and Shivakumara Swami of the Siddaganga mutt in Tumkur.

  24. Opinion Says:


    > all the gowda people to allow the Lingayat cm work freely…

    My father who was serving as Director of a Govt. Medical College took Voluntary Retirement becasue of unbearable nuisance created by Yediyurappa as CM. He wanted my father to loot the college in every-way possible and give an elephantine share.

    There are few more cases where Govt. officials (non-lingayats) were brutally arms-twisted to raise money for Yediyurappa. Some of these victims chose to retire, those whose had lot of service still left sought transfer or passed on the doings to Opposition. Under Yediyurappa’s regime every head of Govt. Institution, Govty Dept., Govt. Service was summoned and ordered to bring a certain number of crores for his fund.

  25. Srikanta Says:

    Present day scenario that is all bad will build its own ecosystem, and become the Underworld. As time progresses evil will confront evil, Like Rowdy Sheeters are afraid of other Rowdy Sheeters and seek Police Protection.

    I dont think there is enough revenue for Government to function in about a decades time.

  26. Kamat Says:

    In today’s local newspapers, Minister Jarkiholi has finally said it himself!

    “Jarkiholi, expressed his anger that there has been discrimination in allotting portfolios. Key departments cornering about 70% of grants like industry, energy, agriculture, water resources and public works have been given to a certain section of the legislators belonging to the Yeddi camp. The rest of the ministers have been given those that have peanuts budget like sericulture, fisheries and religious endowments. In these circumstances, so little time left, one cannot keep quiet, he argues.”

    Indeed, so money and so little time left to loot the state completely! Yediyurappa’s strategies on the chessboard may be the final move in Karnataka’s tragic demise.

  27. Shoba G Says:

    After the dark days of the Cong-I, JD-s and now the BJP, Karnataka definitely has no immediate future of prosperity or growth and progress. Unless there is a revolutionary change in attitudes among disappointed kannadigas who; thanks to the most crooked, corrupt politicians, have now been forced to first identify their castes!

  28. Freewill Says:

    Yeddy gang is nothing but a bunch of casteists just like mayawati’s gang. It is not that only lingayats do that, all castes especially vokalligas did that for decades after independence. Brahmins being the minority and more urbanized always have been sidelined. It is true that Brahmins may not accept lingayats or other castes into their temples due to their traditions and culture but would have played a much stronger role had they been given importance. They may shun people socially because of their age old beliefs (which is social discrimination) but not when it comes to overall development of everyone. I feel this caste game is more or less like a boring movie which has played itself for 50 years. The countdown to the destruction of karnataka has already started, it will not be long before this starts on the streets. The first thing to do for both bjp and congress is to remove caste barriers immediately and remove caste based voting. BJP leaders should separate religious elements from the party and bring in like minded, non casteist & people from all religions from across the state. Christians, i feel have been completely forgotten and they should get more support. But again not based on religion but the competencies of the individual.

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