BS Yediyurappa, leader of the BJP, who was sworn in as Chief Minister of Karnataka on 26 July for the second time during the term of its 15th Legislative Assembly and fourth time in his long political career, is known for not having staying power.
His first stint as Chief Minister lasted just one week. His second term was cut short by conviction and a stint in jail for corrupt practices. The people of Karnataka, disgusted with the shenanigans of their elected representatives, did not give a mandate to any of the recognised political parties in the 2018 Assembly election.
Nevertheless, the BJPappointed Governor, Vajubhai Vala, invited Yediyurappa to try and form the government. His third term as Chief Minister lasted exactly three days. His capacity to lure MLAs with lucre is without parallel. Recognising these talents, his party gave the green signal to Yeddyurappa, who changed the spelling of his name to its original Yediyurappa after poaching sufficient number of MLAs from the ruling Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress alliance and bringing down the government of HD Kumaraswamy, to have a try at it.
The BJP high command made an exception to its 75-year age bar for anyone to hold office in the case of Yediyurappa on account of his extraordinary “talents.” Like the prodigal son, Yediyurappa left the BJP for a brief spell and the party came a cropper in the subsequent election. The party later rolled out the red carpet for him.
It is a sad reflection of the prevailing atmosphere in Bengaluru that none of the poached MLAs tucked away in five-star luxury in Mumbai, on whose strength Yediyurappa staked claim to form his fourth ministry, was allowed to attend Friday’s Raj Bhavan swearing-in ceremony for fear of their going back to their respective parties. If Yediyurappa were to fulfil all the promises made to the defecting MLAs, there would be nothing of the cake left for the loyal BJP MLAs to share and some may revolt.
A few of the Congress and the JD(S) MLAs who escaped Yediyurappa’s dragnet have already started knocking at his doors and he is going to find the gathering rush difficult to cope with. Kumaraswamy himself is toying with the idea of aligning with the BJP, leaving the Congress high and dry. While the national leadership of the BJP had no option but to allow Yediyurappa to form the Government, Governor Vala’s decision to give a man who had failed to prove his majority another chance is rather unusual.
Three of the rebel MLAs who are in the list of Yediyurappa’s supporters have already been disqualified by the Speaker of the Assembly and the fate of the remaining 12 hangs on a slender thread. Dissolution of the Assembly and fresh election alone will restore political stability in Karnataka.