Bihar election impact on Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa’s political fortunes
Speculation is rife in Karnataka that the Bihar poll results will have an impact on what happens to chief minister BS Yediyurappa.
Since he took over as the CM, he has wanted to either expand his Cabinet or reshuffle it but with little success. Recently he had said, “If need be, I will go to Delhi on November 11 and meet party leaders to discuss the expansion plan.” But the indecision on part of the BJP high command has troubled the CM since it has antagonised seniors in the party who have been waiting to become Cabinet ministers.
But now it is being said that if the BJP along with its partners manages to scrape through and form the government in Bihar, then the high command would be emboldened to begin the process of searching for a new CM immediately. But if things do not work out in Bihar, the party will once again go slowly on wanting to change the Karnataka CM.
POLITICAL EXPERTS DIFFER
Political experts differ on what might happen in the days to come. Pro Vice Chancellor of Jain University Prof. Sandeep Shastri opines, “If the BJP comes up with a stellar performance, they may be emboldened to take steps in Karnataka with regard to a change in CM.” But if things do not go well in Bihar, he says, the whole talk of leadership change will be pushed to the background.
Another political analyst, Prof. Chambi Puranik, differs in his views on this issue and believes the risks outweigh the gains if there is a leadership change done now. He says that BS Yediyurappa is still supported by a majority of the legislators and also by a large cross section of the population. “Minus BS Yediyurappa, the BJP will not be in a position to form the government next,” he adds.
He further says that the high command knows well the ground reality in Karnataka and there is still no alternative in the party. “Who is the alternative? Even without Modi, Yediyurappa is a factor in Karnataka. The BJP does not have a mass leader like him,” he says. Prof Puranik further opines that, “Political sagacity would demand a wait and watch approach,” and if the high command still wants to risk changing Yediyurappa, he calls it, “premature and unwise,” as the gamble might not pay off and it will be advantage Congress.
Yediyurappa has made it certain in plain language that he will complete his full term regardless of what others in the party say. Before completing 100 days in office, he had said, “I will complete my remaining three-and-half-year term. I’m confident about it. I can only tell you that central leaders have confidence in me, that is the reason I have been made the chief minister of this state.” But this was in 2019 and a lot has changed since then.
BSY IS BJP IN KARNATAKA!
There was wide-spread speculation in the political circles that time has come for BSY to hand over the mantle to his successor, and there were also talks about an anti-BSY faction rooting for change. However, the party decided to play it slow, knowing if they touched him, they could end up facing a remake of what happened when Yediyurappa left the party, and their subsequent rout in the 2013 state elections. It was only after Yediyurappa rejoined the BJP that its fortunes began to change for the better.
Sometime back, BJP MLA from Vijayapura, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, directly took a potshot at the CM saying, ‘Ninety five per cent MLAs (in the BJP) will be us (from North Karnataka). So, people at the top (BJP high command) have also understood. It has come in the mind of our Prime Minister that the successor (to Yediyurappa) should be from North Karnataka; he has said after Yediyurappa it will be from North Karnataka, it is almost final.’ He was immediately rebuffed by the CMs political secretary, MP Renukacharya, who said, ‘The CM is like a big banyan tree; we should do our politics under his shade; one cannot rise to CM’s post by criticising him.’