Is Deve Gowda’s offer of support a hint of new CM Bommai flexing his muscles?

The announcement by former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda that his party would come to the rescue of the BJP in a time of crisis is being seen in political circles as the first indication of new Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai trying to flex his muscles.

Soon after Mr. Bommai met Mr. Gowda at his residence “to take his blessings” on Sunday, the octogenarian leader declared that his party would support the BJP government if there was a crisis. The timing of the statement is crucial, just ahead of Cabinet expansion.

Referring to the pulls and pressures involved in ministerial expansion, especially in the present situation marked by groupism in the BJP, a senior BJP leader said Mr. Gowda’s statement has lent strength to Mr. Bommai. “Even the remote possibility of anyone, especially some of the 17 MLAs who came to the BJP from other parties, threatening to resign if they do not get a ministerial berth has been nullified as there is an alternative support for the government,” he said.

However, he maintained that the government was not facing any instability. “Though the BJP government is strong in terms of numbers, Mr. Gowda’s statement has sent out the message that there is no need for the Chief Minister to yield to pressure tactics from anyone from within the party.”

His own man

A few other leaders in the BJP also see Mr. Gowda’s statement as an indication that Mr. Bommai, who is being ridiculed by detractors as a “rubber stamp” Chief Minister of his mentor B.S. Yediyurappa, may come out of his predecessor’s clutches. “Mr. Gowda’s statement, despite the smooth transition of power, is obviously a message that there are bound to be troubles ahead for Mr. Bommai if he has to ignore the suggestions of Mr. Yediyurappa and follow the high command’s diktat while making major decisions such as the selection of ministerial candidates. A similar thing had happened with the then Chief Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda, who was hand-picked by Mr. Yediyurappa himself in 2011-2012. But now, the JD(S) has assured him of ensuring political stability in such a scenario,” said a former Minister and BJP leader. “But the government may not need Mr. Gowda’s support as the statement itself would make fence sitters and Mr. Yediyurappa’s supporters desist from turning rebellious.”

Meanwhile, over the past two days, Mr. Bommai has relieved from duty about 30 people appointed by Mr. Yediyurappa in key posts of the Chief Minister’s Office.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 7:39:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/is-deve-gowdas-offer-of-support-a-hint-of-new-cm-bommai-flexing-his-muscles/article35690757.ece

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