Ahead of Karnataka bypolls, signs of trouble in state BJP

Charges against CM, internal strife may hurt party prospects

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6

Amid the high-voltage political activity across the country, including Maharashtra, Karnataka too appears to be undergoing a political churning ahead of crucial bypolls scheduled for April 17.

While the ruling BJP is facing a tough challenge in the Belagavi Lok Sabha and the Basavakalyan and Maski Assembly segments, Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa seems to have been left to fend for himself amid string of charges against him. Sources, in fact, say his fate depends upon the result of the three constituencies.

“The BJP is facing trouble from within rather than the opposition Congress,” say sources.

Persistent attacks by colleagues and disgruntlement among MLAs following a series of controversies have taken their toll on the CM. The party is facing “serious issues” in all the three seats, including Belagavi. The decision to field Mangala Angadi, wife of late Union Minister Suresh Angadi (from Belagavi) has created a rift among party cadres. Dissenters are saying the decision is “against the BJP’s declared stance against dynasty politics”, they say.

Trouble has been brewing in the Karnataka BJP for several months now. However, despite controversies, the central leadership has not made any move to make amends, making many believe that perhaps it is waiting for the “right time” to take any decision related to Yeddiyurappa, a strongman in his own right.

The incumbent CM has been battling criticism from senior BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who has been relentlessly questioning his style of functioning and his son’s “alleged interference in government affairs”. However, apart from a general show-cause notice, he has not faced any disciplinary action. There was a sex CD case allegedly involving Ramesh Jarkiholi following which he quit the Cabinet.

“The internal party strife may hurt the BJP in bypolls, but the central leadership is waiting for the right time to make changes,” says party leaders.

Recently, another minister, KS Eshwarappa, wrote to the Governor, accusing Yediyurappa of lapses and running the state in an authoritarian way. This have only added to the problems of the CM.

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