KALABURAGI: Denial of cabinet berths which was one of the prime reasons for the collapse of the previous JD(S)-Congress coalition government in the state, could soon haunt the B.S. Yediyurappa government too with a section of disgruntled BJP MLAs set to rock the boat even if the CM secures a simple majority in the Assembly after the December 5 bypolls.
Sources claim that a ‘suicide squad’ is taking shape within the BJP which could make a strong bid to torpedo the Yediyurappa government and ensure the installation of prominent Congress leader from the Hyderabad-Karnataka region - Mallikarjun Kharge as CM - a post which has eluded the veteran more than once.
Most BJP leaders are relaxing after a hectic bypoll campaign confident that the party will romp home in at least eight seats and ensure the stability of their government. There is however a lurking danger ‘within’ - with a group of BJP legislators who could be described as the ‘suicide squad,’ fuming over being neglected by the party top brass and more so, by the undue importance accorded to disqualified legislators who have all been promised ministerial berths after the bypolls. They are quietly waiting for the post-bypoll scenario after the December 9 results, when major political developments can be expected in the state.
According to a prominent legislator of Hyderabad-Karnataka, who is an active member of the squad, a group of ten legislators drawn from various districts have decided to strike at the opportune time as they feel they do not have a bright future in the party, especially after the entry of the disqualified legislators into the BJP.
“We have been legislators for three or four terms and most of us got elected due to our individual charisma. This being the case, we should have been rewarded with cabinet berths but we have been treated badly. On the contrary, the role of the disqualified legislators in helping the BJP form the government is being eulogised day in and day out, which we find difficult to digest,” he said.
“In the last few months, we have gone through the worst kind of humiliation as our voices are not being heard in the party. And once they (disqualified legislators) join the government, which is a foregone conclusion if they are elected, we will further lose our clout which is why we have decided to upset Yediyurappa's applecart to resurrect our career," the leader observed.
According to him, the proposed 'squad' includes legislators drawn from Kalaburagi district, which has been denied representation in the Cabinet for the first time since independence despite sending four legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party to the Assembly, and also those from Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal, Ballari and Chitradurga.
This group is said to have already established contact with senior leaders of the Congress considered close to Mallikarjun Kharge, who has reportedly decided to throw his hat in the ring for the Chief Minister’s post if a favourable situation arises. "We have decided to back Kharge, who has been deprived of the Chief Minister’s post despite his praiseworthy contributions to the region. As Mr Deve Gowda is dead against any attempt to anoint Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah as Chief Minister again, Mr Kharge stands a good chance of occupying the coveted post if we throw our weight behind him. Why not sacrifice ourselves for making such a tall leader from Hyderabad-Karnataka the next Chief Minister ?", the leader asked.
Asked who has taken the initiative to form the group, the leader did not single out any individual legislator adding, "The idea was floated by many MLAs and we decided to act together." Pointing to the recent Supreme Court order on the disqualified MLAs allowing them to contest the bypolls, he said, "we have the charisma to win on any symbol" hinting that if they are disqualified for quitting the BJP, they can still retain their seats.
The leader clarified that their move to unseat Yediyurappa would however depend on the bypoll results.
“If the Bharatiya Janata Party fails to get the required number of seats, the survival of the Yediyurappa government will anyhow look bleak and we may have to rethink our strategy. But if Yediyurappa emerges stronger by getting the seats required for a majority, we will have to move as per our plan and back the Congress veteran", he added....