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Why Gowda pulled the BJP government down: The inside story
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore
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November 19, 2007 20:18 IST
Last Updated: November 19, 2007 22:43 IST

It is game over for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka.

Merely seven days after he became the first BJP chief minister in South India, B S Yeddyurappa tendered his resignation to the governor at 5 pm on Monday.

Once again, it is Janata Dal-Secular chief H D Deve Gowda who is being blamed, with Yeddyurappa dubbing it the worst betrayal in his life.

The seasoned politician that Gowda is, he definitely must have been aware that this U-turn would do more harm than good for his and his party's image.

So, what was it that drove Gowda, who extended support to the BJP without even being asked for it, to shut the door on his allies?

The BJP not signing the Memorandum of Understanding is just an excuse, sources pointed out, saying that it was family pressure that did Gowda in.

Observers who have been watching the events of the last few months said that, left alone, Gowda would definitely have pulled the BJP down, but he would have given them at least six months in power.

Intense pressure from his family, especially his third son Revanna, was too much for him.

Revanna, it is said, had nurtured chief ministerial ambitions, and was miffed with Gowda for extending support to the BJP.

According to Revanna's coterie, since Kumaraswamy (who is incidentally is the youngest of Gowda's four sons) had been given a shot at power and the same would be extended to Revanna too.

Had Gowda not given into the demands of Revanna, there was every chance that the latter would have split both the party and the family. Gowda not only had to put up with the Revanna's demands, but also had to give into the demands of Revanna's wife Bhavani. It is said that Bhavani would soon join the party and contest from the K R Pet constituency in Mandya. Both husband and wife had pressurised Gowda right from the beginning when a decision to make Kumaraswamy the deputy chief minister was taken. Revanna's supporters felt Gowda was giving away too much to Kumaraswamy.

To fulfill Revanna's dream, Gowda now intends to join hands with the Congress and form a government. If this works out, Gowda will push the Congress into agreeing to make Revanna the chief minister.

Preliminary talks between the two parties reveal that Revanna would be made chief minister, while senior Congress leader Parameshwar will be the deputy chief minister.

Apart from the Revanna factor, sources say the allocation of key portfolios was also a reason for Monday's drama. Yeddyurappa maintained that the only reason for Gowda to issue the whip was because he wanted both urban development and the mining and geology portfolios. Yeddyurappa said all the other excuses are lame in nature. He questioned, "What is so lucrative about these portfolios? Why are they insisting on these two portfolios?"

Sources also said if Gowda had let Yeddyurappa continue in office, it could have been fatal for the JD-S in the next elections. Yeddyurappa had gathered huge public support after he, as finance minister, presented a budget where he provided loans to farmers at four per cent interest, waived of loans, banned both arrack and lottery. Gowda felt Yeddyurappa may score over the voter through better administration.

In the eye of the public, though, Gowda wants to make it look as though he still upholds secular values. Yeddyurappa has said at a press conference in Delhi that he would run the state the Narendra Modi way. The JD-S sought to know what he meant by that.

Yeddyurappa, however, maintained that Gujarat is a model state in terms of development and hence there was no harm in making such a reference. Gowda also felt that the presence of Narendra Modi at the swearing-in ceremony sent wrong signals to the public.

He felt Modi's presence gave the indication that the JD-S was supporting communal forces.

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