MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: Going by the chaotic developments within the BJP, ever since it assumed power more than two years ago, one must admire the common sense displayed by the Karnataka voters in the last assembly election.
The voters’ response to the plea for power made by the three contending parties was quite categorical.
They rejected in no uncertain terms the claims made by the Congress and JDS and put them in the dog house as it were, even making it impossible for them to share power through an unholy alliance between them.
On the other hand, they were taken in by the plea made by the BJP to give it a chance to govern but were quite cautious in their response. The voters put BJP ahead of all the parties by giving them 110 seats and ensured that the party missed the majority mark by a whisker.
The other two parties were left far behind, making it a mockery of the mandate even if they were to join hands. The message from the voters was clear. They had actually put the BJP on probation and wanted it to prove its credentials before fully backing them at the hustings next time round.
This has a parallel in what had happened in 1983.
Then, too, the voters preferred a non-Congress combination led by the Janata Party to the Congress.
When the government led by late Ramakrishna Hegde won the approbation of the people by its performanance, they voted the Janata Party back to power with its own majority. (That it lost the advantage due to internecine squabbles engineered by H.D. Deve Gowda is of course another matter.)
In the present case, only the first part of the saga has been played out.
Before the ruling BJP could have the second opportunity to seek a fresh mandate, the BJP government has got into all sorts of imbroglios, which has made the party fall in the esteem of the people, who had trusted them to deliver the goods promised.
Right from the day, the party contrived through the execrable “Operation Kamala” to firm up its majority, it has been steeped in scams, scandals and dissidence which hardly brings credit to anybody.
What has been causing concern and consternation is the unabashed manner in which BJP MLAs are pursuing with single minded determination their quest for power and pelf , throwing to the winds all the known niceties of the “party with a difference”.
The casualty in the process has been governanance.
What has made the matters worse has been the behaviour of the ministers, who appear to be landing the party and the government in one or the other controversy (Hartaalu Halappa, Bachche Gowda, D. Sudhakar, et al)
Even before the controversy of illegal mining surrounding the Reddy Brothers could be forgotten, has come the instances of others ministers getting bitten by the bug of lucre, be it allotment of land (Katta Subramanya Naidu) or jobs in hospitals (Ramachandre Gowda).
The problem with the BJP government is that the leadership has failed.
B.S. Yediyurappa has been unable to provide the needed leadership to carry and instill the sense of responsibility among the legislators, most of whom are newcomers to public life. He should have led by example and shared the burden of steering the ship of the State with others.
His autocratic behaviour has been the cause of the party’s colective misery, going by the grievances of fellow party workers. As a result political atmosphere is turning murkier and murkier with every passing day.
Two main rumours are afloat at the moment.
One is the behind-the-scenes efforts made by JDS with the tacit backing of Congress to put a ragtag government in place of the present one. The second one is the talk of change of leadership within the BJP for which some of the dissidents are burning midnight oil.
In the present permissive atmosphere, both efforts, which basically distort the mandate of the people, have hardly any chance of propping up a credible alternative.
The best solution under the circumstances is to remit the problem back to the people.
Let the people decide what should happen, instead of allowing the powerbrokers in every party to misutilise the occasion for their personal and political aggrandisement while making a mockery of the State in the eyes of the nation.