It’s not about saving BJP. It’s about saving Karnataka
I often wonder what our political class is doing to its image and credibility among the people? An exhibition of its very commonplace sordid ways is what the Indian Express so tellingly branded as the natak in Karnataka.
One cannot take sides in the theatrics that robbed Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa of whatever credibility he had on being publicly humiliated by the mining Mafia led by the Reddy brothers some months ago. Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) is another villain of the abysmal show driven by nothing but the lust for power. The issues at stake have little to do with good governance, probity in public life or providing people the government they deserve.
The Congress for its part is letting an old foggy engage in street antics that belittle his party and the high office he occupies. Governor H R Bhardwaj’s brazen ways were evident in his interaction with the media even as the High Court heard legislators disqualified by Speaker K G Bopaiah. The Center hasn’t revealed yet its mind. But its foremost duty is to ensure there are no winners in this shameless battle. To come across as even handed, it must recall Bhardwaj and place Karnataka under President’s rule even if the Court rules against the dissident legislators expulsion. In that eventuality, the Congress, the second largest party, would hold the key to the nature of any future dispensation. So far, it hasn’t shown any inclination to team up with JD (S) and dissident MLAs to set up a regime.
A closer look at the fallout from the ugly political face-off would reveal that the judiciary— which has to adjudicate on the Chair’s decision to send 16 rebel MLAs packing — would gain an upper hand over the legislature. Bopaiah and Bhardwaj’s conduct is reminiscent of the happenings in Jharkhand where too the Court handed down instructions to the Governor and the Speaker on how to conduct the trust vote in a badly divided house.
Bhardwaj has talked more than his share and the JD (S) nursed ambitions way beyond its strength in the House. On balance, however, Yeddyruppa’s follies are bigger. He had no moral or political authority left on being led by his nose by the mining syndicate. He was forced to drop his favorite minister Shobha Karandlaje; had to withdraw levies on mined iron ore and reinstate officials he had removed to teach the Reddys a lesson. Karandlaje is back as a minister in the reshuffle that triggered the latest revolt, putting Yeddyurappa’s own job at risk. He’s more vulnerable now than he was in his previous fight.
Rather than checking corruption, the CM has since fallen to its lure, if the land-grab charges against him and his family are true. The public spat he had with the Lokayukta — who charged the government with frustrating the Ombudsman’s efforts to fight corruption— earned him more notoriety. The Constitutional machinery in Karnataka hasn’t stopped functioning now. It ceased to exist when the Reddy clan put the CM’s face in the mud by earning reprieves for friendly and allegedly corrupt civil servants. Their support of Yeddyurappa now is aimed at protecting their ill-gotten empire.
What then could be the best-case scenario for Karnataka? Sack the Governor and the CM, place the Assembly under suspended animation. That’ll pave the way for a new occupant in the Raj Bhawan running the State’s affairs through a set of efficient and honest advisors. That’s the least the people of Karnataka deserve— from the BJP, the Congress and the JD (S). Will they rise to the occasion? Doubtful!