BS Yeddyurappa’s 55-hour long journey as Karnataka Chief Minister

What Yeddyurappa miscalculated and thereby miscommunicated is his ability to garner a majority.

Published: 20th May 2018 05:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th May 2018 05:26 AM   |  A+A-

BS Yeddyurappa (File | EPS)

Express News Service

If only Governor Vajubhai Vala had looked at the numbers - 104 vs 115 - and the immediate precedence, a lot of what led up to BS Yeddyurappa's tearful resignation in the assembly, after 55 hours as the CM, could have been avoided. That includes the post-midnight sitting of the Supreme Court, the unseemly cross-state carting of elected representatives to resorts, the long-drawn-out cat-and-mouse game, the sting videos and all that high and low drama.

Governor Vala's decisions were hasty choices at a time when thorny legal issues were involved. The incidents that played out as a direct consequence may have made him a household name across India, but at a cost. His helping hand could not secure the CM post for Yeddyurappa and exposed a constitutional office to criticism, yet again.

What Yeddyurappa miscalculated and thereby miscommunicated is his ability to garner a majority. With the BJP numbers stuck at 104, and the number of independents two, the only way Yeddy could have managed the magic majority was through inducement or threat to MLAs of the other two parties, the Congress and the JD-S. That's what the Governor had in effect given sanction for.

As B. Sriramulu, one of Yeddy's chief pointsmen in what is being termed as 'Operation Lotus II', confided to one of his party bosses, "No one is willing to (switch camps) face another election just now"; leading to Yeddy getting the crucial communication from Delhi to put in his papers. The heart-stirring speech took no time of course getting readied.

The Congress had two first mover's advantages. First, it could offer CMship to H.D. Kumaraswamy, as the cornerstone of a new proposed partnership, which could not be bettered by the BJP. Second, securing two key points from the Supreme Court, drastically reducing the 15-day lead period for floor test to 48 hours and then televising of the session.

For the first, Siddaramaiah needed a bit of convincing, even as the counting of votes was on. But after a message from Rahul Gandhi -- with whom he has struck a chord -- Sidda fell in line, agreeing to make the overture himself, along with Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot.

The AICC incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal says, "Rahulji was involved from point go, monitoring every step of the move." The hands-on approach paid off, including his decision to open channels with JD-S, on Ahmed Patel's advice, a day before the counting. It's a battle, the Congress leader added, that was won over sleepless nights and burning the midnight oil, quite literally. Senior leaders like Azad and Gehlot stood outside the Raj Bhawan, most of Friday night, hoping for a last-minute bridge-building with the Governor.

However, as euphoria and relief shared space at the Congress office, some hard truths too emerge, will it be stable? "We dont see any problem in the alliance, all that has been taken care of -- the last few days helped. The Congress has shown magnanimity for the sake of the state," said B.K. Hariprasad, from Bangalore, adding that every leader and worker chipped in.

The issue of Deputy CM is yet to be sorted out. Though indications from Bangalore are that G. Parameswara, KPCC chief, a Dalit leader, could be the obvious choice. But a meeting of the high command is yet to happen.

D.K. Shivakumar, seen to be one of the heroes of Congress's counter-attack, may be accommodated with a meaty portfolio like Home or Revenue, since two Vokkaliga leaders can't be holding two top posts. That also leaves the Lingayat issue open. It also needs to be seen what, as CLP leader, Siddaramaiah does.

India Matters


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