BJP awaits signal from central leadership on Karnataka government matters

Despite the claim of Bharatiya Janata Party insiders that nearly a dozen MLAs from the ruling combine are willing to switch sides, the State leadership’s hands seem to be tied for now by the party high command.

“I am leaving for New Delhi with all the elected MPs on May 29. I will discuss the issue [of the State government] with the central leadership. Till such time, I will not speak about it,” said BJP State president B.S. Yeddyurappa on Friday. This came on the day the ruling coalition refused to vacate the seat of power, as demanded by the BJP leadership after the saffron party swept the Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka.

Efforts to topple the State government will only begin after the swearing in of the new government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi, party sources said. Destabilising a State government before that would be politically unaesthetic, the central leadership is said to have opined.

Following three failed attempts to topple the State government over the past one year, and that becoming an issue of public debate, the top leaders in New Delhi not only gagged the State leadership, but also did not give the green signal for fresh efforts. “The central leadership will likely oversee the efforts this time,” a senior leader said.

The party is also learnt to be divided on the modalities of formation of an alternative government in the State — through Operation Kamala or midterm polls. While it was thought the party should form a government forcing coalition MLAs to resign and switch sides in the incumbent Assembly, a strategy the BJP tried thrice unsuccessfully over the past year, the party’s unprecedented landslide victory to in the Lok Sabha polls seems to have created new aspirations.

“A section of the party, including key strategists, has been arguing that a government formed with coalition MLAs switching sides would only inherit the instability of the incumbent coalition government — something that haunted the first BJP government in the State from 2008 to 2013. They argue that the BJP must force a collapse of this government and force midterm polls, in which it has fair chances of winning a comfortable majority, given the Lok Sabha results,” said a senior party leader. However, he added that not many MLAs were ready for midterm polls.

The central leadership will take the final call on the matter. Till then, the BJP State leadership is adopting a wait-and-watch approach.

A decisive snub to dynastic politics’

Former Minister for External Affairs and BJP leader S.M. Krishna, speaking to news agency ANI on Friday, termed the Lok Sabha results “a decisive snub to dynastic politics in Delhi and Karnataka”. “I think people have seen through the game of dynastic politics. The Congress will survive as a small party. The party’s sycophancy to a dynasty has undone it,” he said.

“The Indian electorate is one of the shrewdest in the world. There may be illiteracy, poverty and other issues, but they always go with common sense and internal judgment in choosing a government. The people were able to see through the hollowness of the Congress opposition and that is why Narendra Modi was given a second mandate. I am hopeful the BJP will get a third mandate too,” he said.

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