Amid rumblings, 15 Karnataka BJP MLAs to meet party brass in Capital
Around 15 key Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators from Karnataka are likely to meet the party’s top brass in New Delhi in the first week of February to discuss changes in the functioning of the state government, ways to develop a second rung of leaders and end family-based politics, among other issues, three people aware of the development said.
The legislators, who form an important part of the ruling party, have already held at least two rounds of meetings with party seniors. They maintain changes are required to strengthen the Karnataka unit of party and rectify problems ahead of the 2023 state elections.
“We do not have any demands for ministerial berths...we are not going there to complain about the chief minister or his family. We want to suggest how to bring the Narendra Modi model of government here as well which is not the case right now,” said one three-time legislator, requesting anonymity.
The legislators are likely to meet BJP national president JP Nadda and general secretary (organisation), BL Santosh, among other leaders.
The meetings come after a cabinet expansion and portfolio reshuffle carried out by chief minister BS Yediyurappa led to protests and criticism by those who were left out of the exercise. The 77-year-old politician is trying to douse one crisis after another to retain power.
With just two years to go before the elections, the persistent rattle, lack of ideology-based schemes, charges of corruption and factionalism within the government has spooked core party members, who are apprehensive of the impact of such developments on the party’s prospects.
“There is no social or regional equity in the cabinet and we want to seek equal opportunities for all workers,” said a second leader who too did not want to be named.
A Narayana, political analyst and faculty at Azim Premji University, said the group of legislators meeting the central leadership of the BJP clearly are not in favour of the chief minister.
“The BJP is dependent on a powerful bunch of people (turncoats) and any government that has no control over its MLAs cannot run according to party principles or the will of the chief minister,” Narayana said.
V Sunil Kumar, the BJP’s chief whip and legislator from Karkala, sent a letter to the state president on December 1 to convene a meeting of all legislators after allegations that the CM was focusing on turncoats ahead of the cabinet expansion.
Yediyurappa ceded to dissent from within a section of new entrants, leaving him vulnerable to “blackmail”, the party legislators cited above said.
They alleged that Yediyurappa had sidelined the old guard and prioritised turncoats whom he continues to reward for helping bring down the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition in 2019 and put him in power.
“The problem is that BJP was not given an absolute majority in the previous elections and those legislators who rejected the Congress and came to our party have to be placated...,” KS Eshwarappa, the rural development and panchayat raj minister said.
The government is also under pressure from the opposition over its alleged non-performance, inadequate flood relief work, farm laws, amendments to industrial and labour laws and the resurfacing of corruption charges against the government.
“The government itself was formed on unethical lines with money and blackmail and hence their foundation is weak....The state is suffering and limping along,” said Dinesh Gundu Rao, former Congress state president.