AFTER all the political drama, people of Karnataka witnessed in the past few weeks, the JDS-Congress coalition government is certainly on the verge of collapse, as it has been reduced to a minority in state assembly, after 15 MLAs of the alliance parties are firm in their stance to resign from their memberships.
Amidst this, State BJP President B S Yeddyurappa has expressed confidence of forming the next government, if Speaker Ramesh Kumar accepts rebel MLAs resignations.
BJP is the single largest party in the assembly with 105 MLAs and enjoys support of two Independent MLAs, which takes the total to 107 MLAs compared to Congress’ 101, if Ramalinga Reddy withdraws his resignation.
With 105 becoming the new majority mark, Yeddyurappa is within his rights to stake claim for forming a new government, but he has said he would consult the central leadership for the next course of action.
What could be the best option for BJP if the alliance government falls? Should it go for fresh polls or another rag-tag coalition backed by rebels?
Yeddyurappa’s first stint of heading a government with rebel MLAs was marked by mis-governance and instability.
The Ballari mining barons, led by G Janardhana Reddy, in 2009, had held BJP government to ransom, insisting on Yeddyurappa’s removal as chief minister, claiming support of over 70 of the 117 party legislators in 225-member assembly.
This episode of factionalism and infighting has the potential to make a return if the BJP absorbs rebels. Party supporters in Goa and other places, in fact, are already lashing out for absorbing rebel Congress legislators there and other places where grassroots and local equations are not considered.
Going by the latest elevation of Yeddyurappa’s bete noire B L Santosh as party’s national joint general secretary, it shows BJP could have a bigger plan for South India and buying MLAs is off the hook as also of giving Yeddyurappa a long stint as chief minister.
Both Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, if left to themselves, may prefer a young chief minister who can rejuvenate the party, but they cannot dismiss Yeddyurappa’s claims to the top notch job, as he is one leader who single-handedly made BJP a strong force in Karnataka to reckon with.
However, the farming identity of Yeddyurappa is not enough for the state to achieve greater heights, when it has been misgoverned for more than a year now. The state needs to be governed by a leader like Modi who understands the potential of technological growth.
In fact, the need for holding fresh election could be to address these dilemmas by giving Yeddyurappa a short stint as chief minister and pass on the baton to a leader acceptable to him, while he remains party’s patriarch.