Bengaluru: The smile, waving of victory sign and all the euphoria that Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa (BSY) displayed Tuesday night after the coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy collapsed in a trust vote vanished a day later on Wednesday as he was made to wait by the BJP Parliamentary Board in Delhi from taking over as the next CM of Karnataka.
The BJP Parliamentary Board sat on Yeddyurappa’s claim to form the next government taking its own time. BSY, who was to fly to Delhi to meet party president Amit Shah and working president JP Nadda, put off his trip waiting for a call to come.
Sources say that the Board has five reasons for delaying the process. One is that BSY has crossed the age bar set by the BJP of holding a constitutional post. He is 76 and the BJP rule book says that anyone who crosses 75 cannot hold a constitutional post. This is why former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan was denied a ticket in the recent general election.
Sources say if an exception is made in BSY’s case, it will set a bad precedent and more claims may crop up later.
Reason number two is that the BJP Board wants a clarity on the status of the rebel MLAs. If they are disqualified, which is likely, the BJP will have its burden reduced. It need not give party tickets to the rebel MLAs as they would be barred from contesting polls for 6 years. Hence the BJP can field its own candidates in the bypoll for the 15 seats plus four that fell vacant as Congress lawmakers got elected to the Lok Sabha.
But if the resignations of the rebel MLAs are accepted, then the BJP would have to grapple with demands from these MLAs for party tickets for bypolls and ministerial berths, triggering an implosion within the party. Loyalists have already indicated that they should be rewarded first and not turncoats.
The BJP Board is also keen on knowing what the Supreme Court has to say on the status of the rebel MLAs.
Reason number three is that BSY is not a popular leader among the youth who now form a decisive vote bank. He is perceived as corrupt, incapable of taking senior leaders along and is an emotional tinderbox. Of late, he has been committing various blunders and age is catching up with the Lingayat strongman.
Reason number four is that the BJP Board has a detailed report by Governor Vajubhai Valla on the current political situation in Karnataka and the dangers ahead. Afterall, Valla, a seasoned politician from Gujarat and once the Speaker of the Gujarat Assembly, knows which way the political situation will turn and twist.
Valla, sources say, has not painted a rosy picture of the future for the BJP Karnataka unit because it has very thin majority. What happened to the JD(S)-Congress coalition can as well happen to the BJP in a few months.
In fact, Kumaraswamy, on Wednesday, gave ample hint of this. He said the BJP government will be highly unstable. With strategist like DK Shivkumar of the Congress seething in anger over what he calls the ‘trading’ on MLAs, anything is possible.
But despite the dice being loaded against state’s tallest BJP leader and its three-time Chief Minister, sources say Yeddyurappa will be called to take over as next CM of Karnataka.
With the Parliamentary Board remaining silent, the meeting of BJP legislators, which was slated to be held at 11 am Wednesday, was put off.
Reason number five is that Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar may make life miserable for BSY and his team in the Assembly if they assume power.
Smelling trouble, BSY rushed to the RSS office here to hold talks and put forth his point of view. But for records he said: “I came here to take the blessings of senior leaders of the Sangh Parivar. I’m waiting for instructions from Delhi, at any point of time we will call for Legislature Party and then head to the Raj Bhavan.”
The BJP is confident of majority, having bagged 105 votes during the trust vote against the Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition of 99.
The effective strength of the 224-member Karnataka assembly is 210, with the half-way mark at 105. The BJP is also expected to get the support of the lone legislator of the Bahujan Samaj Party, N Mahesh, who was expelled by Mayawati after he defied her orders to support the government during Tuesday’s trust vote.
Meanwhile, political parties Wednesday hit out at the BJP after the fall of the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka accusing it of indulging in “brazen horse-trading” and “misusing power”. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said the day will go down in the history of democracy as a “black chapter”.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the greed of those who saw the alliance as an obstacle in their path to power won, while democracy and the state’s people lost.
Kumaraswamy signed off the day saying he was the happiest man. “When I took oath, my government decided to waive off farmer loans. We planned to bring in the Debt Relief Act which will help thousands of poor labourers. I wanted to bring such an act and help landless labourers and small farmers. We sent the proposal to the President for approval. He has now signed it, I thank him. Today I am the happiest man.”
But Kumaraswamy remained non-committal on the future of his party’s alliance with the Congress, saying both parties have not yet discussed it.
Responding to a question on continuing alliance with the Congress, he said, “Let us see…I don’t know. I don’t know about the stand of Congress leaders for the future… we have not discussed anything yet.”