The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, in all likelihood, may have reconciled by now to losing its first and only bastion in the South. And if it does so then it has only itself to blame for the debacle or maybe at best its former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa. It can be safely said that come May 08, the BJP will lose Karnataka to the Congress, not because the electorate saw the grand old party as their saviour but mainly due to the mess the BJP created in governing the state during the five years that it was in power.
Whichever way one puts it, most of the trends and exit-polls have predicted that the BJP is on its way out in Karnataka and the Congress will emerge as the party with the majority seats. The other scenario could be a hung Assembly, wherein the role of HD Kumaraswamy’s JD(S) and even BS Yeddyurappa will become vital.
If one were to analyse the rallies that the BJP leaders from the Centre, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and LK Advani addressed in Karnataka then the picture becomes more than crystal clear. The party leadership attacked the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for corruption, scams, price rise, and policy paralysis and so on and so forth but totally avoided the local issues concerning the state. The issue of corruption and nepotism, the problems of non-governance and civic amenities were not touched upon.
Infact, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, undoubtedly one of the star campaigners and a massive crowd puller of his party, too hit out at the Congress and its vice president Rahul Gandhi but refrained from touching upon the uncomfortable question of BJP failing to deliver. He praised the incumbent Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar for having handled the difficult times well and said that the BJP would come back to power but at the moment his hope seems, at best, to be misplaced.
One can only feel sorry for Shettar – imagine his challenge of trying to convince the voters that BJP is clean, non-corrupt and that they mean business. Shettar did apologise to the voters for the party’s mistakes and stressed that the party was clean after the exit of BSY and Reddy brothers. However, it may not be enough to melt the heart of the voters to such an extent so as to grant the BJP another shot at government formation, especially when most of the sitting MLAs have been given tickets to contest the polls and the last ditch efforts at damage control by the CM may not bear much fruits.
It does not help matters for a party going into the election when your ex-chief minister had to step down on charges of corruption and had to subsequently go to jail. It does not help matters when your ex-ministers are in jail in one of the biggest scams of the state in which the Supreme Court had to intervene. It does not help matters when party has been divided into three factions – the BJP, the Karnataka Janata Party and B Sriramulu’s BSR Congress. It does not help matters when the capital of the state, Bangalore, is facing infrastructure problems, lack of civic amenities and is called the garbage capital of the world. It also does not help matters when one of your ministers is accused of raping a friend’s wife and three of your MLAs are caught watching porn in the Assembly.