Bangalore, Feb 26 (IANS) Veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani had once famously warned his party against “Congressisation”. By that he meant being self-serving, undisciplined and hankering for power, traits for which the Congress has been slammed for years.
When Advani gave that warning his party was nowhere near power in Karnataka. But the Karnataka unit has taken just around four years after coming to power in the state for the first time in May 2008 to prove the veteran’s fears were not misplaced.
It is not only in Karnataka – the only southern state the party is in power – that the BJP is hit by corruption scandals and indiscipline. It is the scale and the speed of the fall of the party from grace that is shocking.
On top of this is the fact that there is no end in sight to the power struggle in the Karnataka unit with the party’s central leaders displaying that they have no clue how to end it.
The impression given is that the party is resigned to live with indiscipline in the Karnataka unit in order to remain in power.
This is in stark contrast to the proclamations of the party leaders soon after capturing power four years back that the BJP will provide model governance to turn Karnataka into the party’s launching pad for the other three southern states.
The BJP has marginal presence in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, and it will be a miracle if voters there are not put off by the party’s dismal show in Karnataka.
The pathetic state the party has come to in Karnataka was amply demonstrated in Bangalore Friday.
State BJP leaders had announced that their party chief Nitin Gadkari will spend two days, Feb 24 and Feb 25, in Bangalore and “all minor problems in the party will be resolved”.
The “minor problems” are attempts by scam-hit former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his supporters to unseat his successor D.V. Sadananda Gowda, just six months after he took over.
Fearing marginalisation after he was forced to quit over corruption charges in July last year, Yeddyurappa has been demanding his re-instatement or at least a final say in running the government and the party in the state.
His supporters openly accuse Gowda of going back on his “promise” that he will quit as chief minister after six months so that Yeddyurappa can reclaim the post.
They also go around saying the BJP has no future in the state under Gowda and state unit president K.S. Eshwarappa.
Against such brazen attempts to undermine the chief minister, the party called the Feb 24-25 ‘chintan-manthan’ to impart lessons in morality and discipline to ministers and legislators.
The morality aspect came into picture following the involvement of three ministers, Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil and J. Krishna Palemar in porn viewing in the assembly Feb 7. They quit the ministry the next day.
Forget two days, Gadkari did not stay beyond 26 hours. He landed in Bangalore around 11 p.m. Thursday and flew out around 1 p.m. Friday, leaving the power struggle to linger on.
The next round of heightened indiscipline will hit the party hard when cabinet expansion is attempted as there are 11 vacancies. Karnataka can have a 34-member council of ministers including the chief minister, that is, 15 percent of the assembly strength (225).