Snubbing Yeddyurappa at such a crucial juncture is nothing less than a suicidal attempt. Then why the BJP has taken the decision?
Two months ago, when the campaigning for the Karnataka Assembly elections began, everyone in Karnataka was sure that BS Yeddyurappa will be the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate. Even the top leadership of the party had signalled that the Lingayat heavyweight will be the CM if the party wins the state. The idea was to unite the party under the leadership BSY who enjoyed mass support.
But, just three weeks before the state goes for polling it is more than apparent that everything is not well between the top leadership and Yeddyurappa. On Monday, Yeddyurappa, in a surprise announcement clarified that his son Vijayendra would not contest from Varuna constituency in Mysuru. Currently, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s Son is contesting from Varuna constituency as Congress candidate. This indeed came as a shocker to many as the indications of Vijayendra contesting from Varuna were being sent by Yeddyurappa even before Congress picked Siddaramaiah’s son for the seat. He was also supposed to file his nomination on Monday.
Announcing the party decision, Yeddyurappa said that a “common man” will fight from the Varuna seat. “With folded hands, I request all of you to support and bless that candidate and make him win,” he said. Though he did not cite any reason behind this, the announcement sent a shockwave among party workers who shouted slogans against Amit Shah, RSS man in charge of Karnataka BL Santosh and Union Minister Ananth Kumar. The protest was enough of a proof that there is a palpable tension between the internal camps in BJP Karnataka and the top leadership of the party. Some also believe that this is a deliberate attempt to block the Yeddyurappa clout. The workers from Yeddyurappa camp also believe that the snub was to decimate the larger support base of BS Yeddyurappa.
Even today, Yeddyurappa is undoubtedly the biggest vote-getter. He also commands respect in Lingayat community. Snubbing Yeddyurappa at such a crucial juncture is nothing less than a suicidal attempt. Then why the BJP has taken the decision?
Is BJP cosying up with JD(S)?
The opinion polls are out and the picture is neither flattery for ruling Congress nor for opposition BJP. The India Today – Karvy Insights opinion poll predicts 90-101 seats for Congress, 78-86 seats for BJP and 34-43 seats for JD(S)+. The Times Now – VMR survey predicts 91 seats for Congress, 89 seats for BJP and 40 seats for JD(S) + BSP. The JAIN-Lokniti CSDS Pre Poll Survey predicted 85-91 seats for Congress, 89-95 seats for BJP and 32-28 votes for the JD(S)+. In any case, it is evident that the Karnataka is headed for the hung Assembly without an absolute majority to any party. On the other hand, JD(S) emerges as a kingmaker.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have often reiterated their dream of Congress-Mukt Bharat. The BJP has successfully managed to route the Congress from the north. However, for BJP the door to south opens in Karnataka and if the party has to continue its winning march; it has to win Karnataka too. Thus, there are possibilities that BJP might try to get JD(S) on board.
For a party that has been hailed for its foresight and strategic planning, BJP will consider all the options before it. The party may get into a post-poll alliance with JD(S). But how will it convince the JD(S) keeping in mind the resolution of JD(S) Supremo HD Deve Gowda to not go with BJP?
The former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda has projected his son HD Kumaraswamy as the only fit candidate for the chief ministership. Deve Gowda has openly said that he will not tie-up with BJP. There are many differences between the two parties. While BJP has focused on Hindu-Muslim divide as its core issue in Karnataka, Deve Gowda has been a staunch advocate of secularism. On the other hand, Kumaraswamy and Yeddyurappa cannot see each other eye to eye.
The only way to convince Deve Gowda is offering the chief ministerial post to HD Kumaraswamy. If BJP has to win the state, then the winning formula is this at the moment. This will also give BJP an edge over JD(S). Considering the Modern day Chanakya Amit Shah is, we cannot deny the possibility.
This also explains why BJP top leadership is keeping Yeddyurappa hands tied by giving him no power to make changes according to his will.
Amit Shah and PM Modi are well aware that the results of Karnataka Assembly elections will reflect on 2019 Lok Sabha election as well. To add more trouble, the southern states have already expressed their disenchantment with the BJP. The BJP government in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are facing strong anti-incumbency. BJP cannot afford to lose entire south and two of the biggest states. The loss combined with anti-incumbency of four years is enough to bring BJP’s seat tally down in 2019 paving a way for the opposition coalition.
Whether the above prediction is true or not will be proven after the results come out. However, one thing is sure, if BJP wants to strengthen its prospect for 2019, the victory in Karnataka is crucial.