The D.V. Sadananda Gowda government in Karnataka, given the nature of the animosity prevailing within the ruling party, is heading for a major crisis sooner than later, following the Supreme Court ordering a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation on prima facie charges of a quid pro quo deal with a mining company against the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
The ball is now in the court of the BJP high command in preventing a division within the ruling party and thus save the government.
All eyes are now on the next move of the former Chief Minister, particularly whether he will direct his legislator-loyalists to join him in pulling down the government and thus invite the wrath of the BJP high command, or whether he will intensify his shadow-boxing against the incumbent Chief Minister apart from speaking out against president of the State unit of the BJP K.S. Eshwarappa. Sources in the Yeddyurappa camp told The Hindu that the strategy is still being finalised and that it will take a few more days.
It all depends on whether Mr. Yeddyurappa will choose to remain in the BJP and seek his reinstatement as Chief Minister after being acquitted of the charges against him, although there is no deadline for the CBI to complete the investigation and file the charge sheet in the court. The term of the 13th Legislative Assembly in the State comes to an end in May 2013, before which the election process has to be completed and a new government installed. It is another matter that Mr. Yeddyurappa has welcomed the order of the court and has said that the day is not far off when he will be acquitted of all of the charges against him.
Legislators apart, the Ministers in the Sadananda Gowda cabinet loyal to Mr. Yeddyurappa are expected to remain with him and participate in finalising the strategy. They include Jagadish Shettar, Basavaraj Bommai, Shobha Karandlaje, C.M. Udasi, Revu Naik Belamagi, Murugesh Nirani, and V. Somanna. In their view, Mr. Yeddyurappa is the face of the BJP in Karnataka and it is he who can play a key role for a good performance of the BJP in the next Assembly elections. Of the 23 BJP MPs from the State, 13 are camp followers of the former Chief Minister.
The leaders of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) — the only two Opposition parties in the political spectrum here — told The Hindu that they were keen on dissolution of the Assembly, more so, in the light of the maladministration of the State for the last four years since the BJP came to power. The order of the apex court is being read as a direct charge against the government, leave alone the former Chief Minister.
As such, the Opposition parties have commenced their preparations for the Assembly elections and AICC president Sonia Gandhi was recently in the State to galvanise the party. Same is the case with the Janata Dal (Secular), which has started short-listing candidates for key constituencies.