People have realised that they have to pay a heavy price if the elections throw up a fractured mandate with a hung assembly. They have also understood that a single-party stable government that can provide political stability is the prerequisite for rapid developmental activities to take place. This overriding concern for political stability and development will enable the BJP to coast to victory.
To say that the developments in neighbouring Maharashtra will cast its long shadow on the BJP’s prospects in the bye-elections is too far-fetched a logic without any convincing rationale and is mere wishful thinking. Even if the people - voting in the areas bordering Maharashtra such as Athani, Gokak and Kagwad - think of Maharashtra developments, then the BJP is at an advantage.
Instead of disappointment and anger against the BJP, there is, on the other hand, outrage against the “politics of skulduggery” practised by the Shiv Sena and “politics of rank opportunism” practised by the Congress and the NCP. The people are aware how the mandate for BJP-Shiv Sena was usurped by the electorally rejected parties such as the Congress and NCP with the help of “greedy” Shiv Sena, which used its strength and bargaining power for its selfish needs. People have already started saying that the Shiv Sena ditched BJP. Opinion is crystallising in favour of the BJP. So, to think that the Maharashtra developments will cost BJP in bye-elections in Karnataka is just that – wishful thinking. It will never materialise.
The talk of BJP government having failed to provide relief and undertake rehabilitation in the flood-relief districts does not carry weight, either. People are aware how Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa – acknowledged as a tough task-master and a workaholic to the core – functioned like a single-man army with missionary zeal day and night in the flood-hit districts. He galvanised all rungs of the bureaucracy and he himself camped in the affected districts. Immediately after the ministers were sworn in, he directed them to go to the assigned districts to monitor the relief and rehabilitation work instead of allowing them to go to their constituencies for felicitation.
Yediyurappa took on-the-spot decisions to provide Rs 10,000 per month as relief measures for house rent to those who lost their houses and Rs 1 Lakh was provided on the spot to rebuild half-damaged houses. He has directed the DCs and CEOs to identify government lands to construct the houses for those who have lost their houses completely. His whirl-wind of the flood-affected districts and quick on-the-spot decisions to provide relief have earned him not only sympathy but also solidarity from the people. On the other hand, the Congress leaders – in their capacity as members of the main Opposition party – were conspicuous by their absence. It was only after the media reported the ‘indifference’ of the Congress leaders that they made a ‘cosmetic’ visit to the flood-affected districts.
The reason and logic applicable for the defeat of BJP candidates in Maharashtra and BJP cannot be interpolated in Karnataka.
In Karnataka, these 15 MLAs resigned out of disgust against the “criminal negligence” of the government towards developmental activities in their respective constituencies and “cruel negligence” of their own party leaders towards their plight. A feeling of having become orphans had gripped these MLAs who resigned voluntarily. They resigned from the ruling combine. This is the most important aspect because when they resigned, they had no inkling of what was going to happen. It was all uncertainty. The future was unknown and they were not aware of what was in store for them. As a senior politician has said, “Anything can happen in politics and cricket”, anything could have happened. These MLAs were not reckless but took a calculated risk in resigning from their seats. It is a quirk of fate that they were disqualified but got relief from the Supreme Court that they can contest.
For quite some time, politics in Karnataka has been oscillating like a pendulum from hope to despair.
The people in general and these MLAs in particular see the coming of BJP to power as a point of hope as Yediyurappa is known for his dynamism and vision in undertaking vibrant developmental activities.
People too are fed up of political instability. So, the over-riding concern for development for which political stability is pre-requisite has put the BJP in an advantageous position....