The first Bharatiya Janata Party government in south India is in disarray yet again. This time Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa will have to prove his majority on October 12 with 21 MLAs tendering their resignation before the government and bringing the numbers down to 96 when the magic figure is 113.
In the past two years since the BJP came to power it has faced five major crisis and at least on three occasions it appeared as though the government would fall. Let us take a look at the five different crisis that this government has faced since it came to power in Karnataka.
The Reddy trouble: Prior to the existing crisis, this was the biggest set back that Yeddyurappa had once he took over as the Chief Minister. Towards the later part of October 2009, the Reddy brothers started meeting with the BJP MLAs who had a grouse against the CM. The Reddys comprising,Karunakara Reddy, Janardhana Reddy, Somashekara Reddy and their family friend Shriramulu claimed that they had the support of 50 BJP MLAs and would bring the government down. The problem started with a housing scheme in Bellary which were to be constructed for flood affected victims. When the CM said that all such programmes had to be government sponsored and no such work can be carried out individually, the Reddy brothers were quick to react. A cold war broke out between the two camps and the Reddys put out a list of grievances. The first was to sack Shobha Karandlage, a close aide of the CM. They also demanded the head of V Baligar who was principle secretary to the CM stating that he was acting like a proxy CM. The matter reached Delhi and the Reddys got even more aggressive in their claim and started demanding for the head of the CM. However a compromise formula was arrived and Yeddyurappa announced in tears before the media that he had ahdered to their demands.
Justice Hegde’s resignation: The boat had sailed on peacefully for nearly a year before Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde tendered his resignation claiming that he was unable to work independently. He alleged that the government had reinstated corrupt officials despite them being pulled up for corrupt practises. He also said that the government had not given him suo motu powers as was promised. Further he also accused them of sheilding some members of the mining lobby and said he was unable to probe the matter independently. This resignation came as a major embarassment for the government since it gave the picture that it was protecting the corrupt. Several other political parties in Karnataka especially the Congress used this as a plank to embarrass the government. However after a week of remaining adamant, the high command headed by L K Advani stepped in and convinced Justice Hegde to take back his resignation. The CM promised action and acted on it. However the suo motu powers to try ministers has not been given as yet.
The Mining scandal: This particular epsiode disrupted the Karnataka Legislative Assembly for nearly two weeks. MLAs from the opposition sat in dharna and even slept over at the assembly. The entire issue commenced with the Chief Minister himself declaring before the assembly that several thousand crores worth of iron ore had been exported illegally. This was seen as a tactical move by the CM who wanted pressure building up on the Reddy brothers since it was expected that the entire nation would gun for their throat. The gamble paid off and the Reddy brothers eventually softened their stand against the CM, but the cold war continues till date. However things started getting out of hand and the opposition demanded a CBI probe and the centre was closely monitoring the situation. The government in the state was however adamant and said that a Lokayukta probe would be sufficient and there is no need to rope in the CBI. The focus then shifted to the streets with the Congress taking out a padayatra to Bellary which was again countered by the Reddy brothers who conducted their own rally headed by Sushma Swaraj in their defence.
The reshuffle crisis: After the mining scam and the softening of the Reddy brothers, Yeddyurappa announced that he would go in for a reshuffle. Many political pundits saw this as a move solely to bring Shobha back into the cabinet. However Yeddyurappa denied all such allegations and went ahead and brought Shobha back into the cabinet. In the bargain he left out independent candidates who had helped him form the government. One of the ministers, G Shekhar even threatened to commit suicide if dropped from the cabinet. However Yeddyurappa went ahead and dropped him. The disgruntled ministers did issue a couple of statements initially and even had the support of the Reddy brothers who threatened to take the matter to the high command. However this issue fizzled out and the government was back on track.
Reshuffle extended: The latest crisis is nothing but an extention of the earlier one. The MLAs who have been left out of the cabinet have joined hands and threatened to bring down the government. Around 20 of them are presently camping in Chennai and are threatening to bring down the government. 21 MLAs have even tendered their resignations to the Governor which in turn has made the latter decide to direct the government to prove its majority on the floor of the house. Even as Yeddyurappa continues to send emissaries to Chennai after assuring the rebels of a good deal, it would still be an acid test for him since he will have to prove his majority on October 12.