BENGALURU: The decision by the Modi-Shah combo to make Laxman Savadi and Dr CN Ashwath Narayan Deputy Chief Ministers in BS Yediyurappa’s government is perhaps the most hotly debated topic in the BJP currently.
According to party sources, the disruptive strategy is typical of the BJP high command, under Modi and Amit Shah as their strategies so far have left the opposition far behind. Such moves are not without precedent. In the current Modi government, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s appointment is also viewed as disruptive by many.
For now, there have been timid protests against the move and in the background, serious efforts to find out the unseen strategy. While in public, disgruntled MLAs might say, “Surely one has to earn his spurs,” in private, they have been asking pointed questions, most often in pain for having the senior leadership excluded from the plans for the future.
“The Karnataka BJP unit never really saw the hubris of Amit Shah in the past six years as they were not in power here. This is precisely how Shah works, the whole intent is to build a new set of future leaders whom Shah can depend on, rather than listen to state unit leaders and their political baggage,” opined political analyst BS Murthy.
According to him, Ashwath Narayan is to the BJP what D K Shivakumar is to the Congress. “He is seen as a crucial strategist in bringing the BJP back to power in the state. The fact that someone like Savadi is now a powerful Deputy CM builds a whole new power equation challenge in the crucial Mumbai-Karnataka region, sidelining established leaders like the Kattis and the Jarkiholis,” he added.
Murthy also pointed out that this was the first time a defeated MLA candidate had been taken in as a Deputy CM in the BJP. “The old guard is shocked but are convinced that Shah is building his team comprising of younger aggressive leaders which suits his style of functioning. This will weaken the BJP.’’
However, other experts differed in their reading of Shah’s style of disruptive politics. Analyst S.Raju said, “There is no strategy here, it is just rewards.
Most of those who are being rewarded are those who ‘toiled’ to bring the previous government down. They had a lot to work on, identifying legislators and getting them to resign and all that happened in between. This is just payback time.” Former Minister M Raghupathi, who started out in the Congress moved to the Janata Parivar said, “I do not see any strategy here by Shah, those who participated in helping topple the coalition government are being rewarded here.’’