Will Bihar poll results have an impact on Karnataka politics?

With speculation rife within the ranks of the ruling BJP that the party’s high command will effect a leadership change in the State after the Bihar Assembly elections, all eyes are now on that State. The outcome of the polls may decide the mood of the high command on the issue, BJP leaders predict.

Silence on Yatnal

The fact that the party chief in Karnataka has not even issued a notice to senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who said that B.S. Yediyurappa would not last long as Chief Minister, indicates the high command’s intent, sources said. However, the manner in which the Bihar electoral arena will pan out may have a bearing on the high command’s final call, they added.

“Before the campaign began, it was assumed that the National Democratic Alliance would have a cakewalk. But now there are several signals from the campaign trail — crowds thronging Rashtriya Janata Dal rallies and Nitish Kumar being booed at a rally — that the contest has opened up,” a BJP leader said. He argued that if the NDA lost in Bihar, then the scales would likely tilt in favour of strong regional satraps within the BJP, which might give Mr. Yediyurappa another chance at survival.

It can be recalled that Mr. Yediyurappa was anointed president of the BJP State unit in 2016, paving the way for him to eventually head the government, close on the heels of the BJP’s defeat in the Delhi and Bihar Assembly polls of 2015 — the first major defeats the party had suffered since it came to power in 2014. “In both Delhi and Bihar, the BJP had led the campaign with the face of Narendra Modi and not a strong regional leader. Within the party forum, that was later analysed as one of the reasons for defeat. This helped Mr. Yediyurappa project himself as a regional satrap,” a leader close to the Chief Minister said.

Two factions

While the faction arguing for a leadership change has been pointing out Mr. Yediyurappa’s age and his inability to lead the next Assembly polls would create a leadership vacuum, the Chief Minister’s faction has been pushing the narrative that there is no alternative leader in the party ranks who can rival his mass base and ability to deliver an election.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 10:13:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/will-bihar-poll-results-have-an-impact-on-karnataka-politics/article32937986.ece

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