B.S. Yeddyuruppa must be cursing Justice Santosh Hegde these days. Not only the Karnataka Lok Ayukta has taken the fun out of the Chief Minister’s holiday in Mauritius, but he has also turned to be a spoiler for him for he is in a serious danger of losing his job.
Justice Santosh Hegde is the same judge who not long ago had earned Yeddyuruppa’s anger for enquiring into the State government’s misdeeds – a legitimate activity for the judge with a well-earned reputation for integrity and judicial independence.
It was left to BJP leader Lal Krishan Advani to call up Justice Hegde to persuade him not to resign. Over a year later Justice Hegde, who is just doing his duty, has now become problem for both Yeddyuruppa as well as Advani’s party.
This is mainly because the continuance of Yeddyuruppa is practically impossible and uncertainty has developed about the BJP’s hold on Karnataka – the only state the BJP could capture south of Vindhyas after years of hard labour.
The Lok Ayukta’s report in Karnataka’s mining scandal, in which BSY and his families and the mining brothers are said to be involved, has caused huge losses to the State exchequer.
Actually, there is no choice for BS Yeddyruppa but to send in his resignation to the Governor, Hans Raj Bhardwaj, who has all along been waiting for this kind of letter from the Chief Minister. It will not take long for the Governor to accept it.
After much of Justice Santosh Hegde’s report has got into public domain no one from the party’s Central High Command is coming to rescue the beleaguered Chief Minister.
He could defy the Governor last year and at that time the BJP supported him against what it regarded as unconstitutional keenness to impose President’s rule in Karnataka. He thanked his deities for saving his Chief Ministership.
Where to go for help now is the question for the man in his hour of crisis bothering him. Even the deities could be looking the other way now.
Also his friends in the party High Command now feel that B S Yeddyruppa has become an embarrassment for the BJP, perhaps a liability.
Not all, but there are senior BJP leaders who want him to resign from Chief Ministership. Some even want him not to wait for the Lok Ayukta report to be officially sent to his government.
Politically, Yeddyruppa’s continuing to remain Chief Minister is unsustainable. is critics in the State have already taken their knives out. Already lobbying has begun in Bangalore as well as in Delhi on choosing his suc
His critics in the State have already taken their knives out. Lobbying has also begun in Bangalore as well as in Delhi on choosing his successor from among several hopefuls.
The BJP leadership has a problem. Yeddyuruppa has the following of the dominant Lingayat vote which it does not want to lose. The essential question before it is whether it can retain the hold of the government in Karnataka even if it sacrifices Yeddyuruppa.
Karnataka is the first State in the South where the BJP has got a foothold. Losing it for whatever the reason will be a great loss. The sharp division in the State party, even if its present crisis is got over, will prove disastrous.
That is why perhaps it is trying to persuade Yeddyuruppa to nominate one of his trusted followers who could be elected as party leader to take over as chief minister. At a time of crisis, it is very difficult for even Yeddyuruppa to decide who is to be trusted and who is not to be trusted from among his followers. No one in politics worships a falling star.
Politics as well future of Karnataka apart the BJP cannot afford to carry on its shoulders the burden of Yeddyuruppa’s chief ministership This is also because at the Centre its main plank on which it has been attacking the UPA-II govt has been scandals relating to Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Society and the 2-G spectrum. That the UPA found itself on the defensive in the last two sessions of Parliament, the BJP was also at the receiving end from the Congress which taunted it about the mining scandals of Karnataka under the Y government.
To let Yeddyuruppa continue in power will give the UPA-II a big opportunity to attack the BJP for its double standards on corruption.
You cannot have one standard of public morality in Bangalore and another in Delhi. The integrity of the rulers is required all over the country whether they govern at the Centre or in the State. Also, the principle of governance on the basis of public accountability is applicable to all parties, including the Congress, the BJP and other parties.
The BJP leadership, which has so far has been defied by Yeddyuruppa should have the courage to call his bluff and go in for a new leader to replace him, even if it is a tall order.
Failure to do so will naturally create a bad image of the BJP as well as political instability in the State.
This, in turn, can lead to a situation where Governor Hans Raj Bhardwaj will be tempted to intervene. Already he has indicated that he will be sending a report to the President about the emerging situation in Karnataka.
Next couple of days will be crucial for lending clarity to the situation as well to Yeddyuruppa’s fate.