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As NCP plans Karnataka entry, BJP's hard-talk tames BSY

Last updated on: January 16, 2012 14:15 IST

As NCP plans Karnataka entry, BJP's hard-talk tames BSY


Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

Although former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa has gone quiet for now, it's still not a complete relief for ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as they know it's only a momentary calm, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

Since the past couple of months, B S Yeddyurappa has tried every trick in the book to win back his lost standing in the party but he has not been successful so far.

The powerful Lingayat leader had tried his best to arm twist the BJP's central leadership on many occasions through threats and also through his supporters, but at the end of it he was forced to eat humble pie.

A couple of days back Yeddyurappa had told his supporters that he would go ahead and pull down the government if the leadership refused to reinstate him either as the chief minister or at least the leader of the party in the state.

He and his followers returned empty-handed after the senior leaders talked tough. They made it very clear to him that there was no way in which he could be made the chief minister again with so many graft cases pending against him.

He then sought for the post of party leader which was once again refused on the same grounds. When he told them that if this continued to be the attitude, he would pull down the government, the central leadership told him, "If you are in a hurry to pull down the government, then feel free to do so."

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Image: B S Yeddyurappa has tried every trick in the book to win back his lost standing in BJP


NCP will look to set up base in north Karnataka

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Pulling down the government at this moment is not something that is beneficial for Yeddyurappa. The BJP too is aware that it could win an election at this moment under any leadership as there are problems galore in the rest of the parties.

The opposition Janata Dal-Secular is not capable of pulling a majority and the Congress finds itself in doldrums due to the lack of leadership in the state.

While both the Congress and the BJP face similar problems, they are also aware of a new threat -- the Nationalist Congress Party -- which is trying to gain a foothold in the state.

The party-led by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is looking for leaders such as Yeddyurappa, and also Siddaramaiah from the Congress, as it is aware that these are two leaders with a strong support base.

Although nearly 18 MLAs from the Congress are all set to move into the NCP, the key ally on the United Progressive Alliance government may still wait a while before it enters Karnataka.

Political observers say that they may do it if they sense that the government is falling or just before the next elections.

All eyes would, however, be on the BJP MLAs and it would be interesting to see if any of them move into the NCP. The NCP would look to make its foothold in northern Karnataka which has a Lingayat dominant population. Any leader with a hold over the Lingayat vote bank would be the most suited choice for the NCP.

Image: Sharad Pawar's NCP may still wait a while before it enters into Karnataka

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Karnataka's political weather likely to generate more heat

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However, Yeddyurappa will wait it out until any such decision is made. He has been a victim of hard talk by both the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the central leadership. He has been made to believe that after the completion of the assembly elections to the five states, will they focus on his problems.

The RSS has made it very clear to Yeddyurappa that he shall not take up yatras or rallies aimed at building his own charisma. All such events shall be under the banner of the party and there is a dire need for him to work with other party workers.

The party may have managed to buy peace with Yeddyurappa for another three months, but they cannot skirt the issue and eventually will have to act.

The idea of the BJP is not to lose Yeddyurappa, but to tame him. They understand fully that he has a certain amount of support in Karnataka and has got options before him.

Yeddyurappa, on the other hand, would prefer if his party offers him the goodies rather than him going out of the BJP and joining another party. So it appears that he will continue to create a fuss until the next elections are close unless he is made the leader of the party and also assured that he will lead the party in the next elections.

If at all NCP does manage to rope in Yeddyurappa and other Lingayat leaders, then the going would be a bit tough for the BJP as it runs the risk of having its vote bank eroded to a certain extent.

Currently, however, it is a wait and watch situation and in the months to come the political weather in Karnataka is likely to generate some more heat.

Image: The idea of the BJP is not to lose Yeddyurappa, but to tame him.
Photographs: Reuters

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