‘Operation Lotus’ Fails: BS Yeddyurappa Stares at a Bleak Future

Many within the party was the 75-year-old to step aside, but the party needs him for the General Elections. 

3 min read
BS Yeddyurappa 

For two days, Karnataka BJP president BS Yeddyurappa kept the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders in the state in panic mode. But despite his best attempts, the plan to topple the coalition government is fizzling out. Even though Yeddyurappa managed to get two independent MLAs to change camps, he couldn’t convince enough Congress MLAs to resign.

The Congress has called for a Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting on Friday, January 18. CLP leader Siddaramaiah has issued a whip to all the MLAs – attend the meeting or face disqualification under the Anti-Defection Law.

This is expected to be the last nail in the coffin for ‘Operation Lotus’ and Yeddyurappa’s dreams of the becoming the chief minister of Karnataka once again. With the whip in place, the defecting MLAs will have to choose a side. As the BJP doesn’t have enough numbers, the defectors are left with little choice but to obey their party.  

According to several leaders in the coalition, and in the BJP, this is the end of the road for BS Yeddyurappa. They believe that the 75-year-old leader will have to make way for a new set of leaders.

Yeddyurappa’s Last Stand

Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa was earlier criticised for having hotel food at a Dalit person’s house. 
Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa was earlier criticised for having hotel food at a Dalit person’s house. 
(Photo: PTI)

Yeddyurappa’s past year’s record has more failures than victories, which include his inability to form a government despite being the single largest party, losing four out of five seats in the October by-elections and the two failed attempts to topple the government.

The recent effort to destabilise the government was said to be Yeddyurappa’s last chance to redeem himself. A source in the BJP said that when disgruntled Congress leader Ramesh Jarkiholi approached the party, Yeddyurappa put forward a proposal to topple the state government in front of the national leadership. He is said to have pitched it as a chance to change the narrative after the party’s losses in the Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and as a way to split the JD(S)-Congress alliance, before the crucial Lok Sabha polls.

But Ramesh Jarkiholi couldn’t deliver enough Congress MLAs to change camps, resulting the recent failure.

Dreams Of Becoming CM Hit Road Block

This is Yeddyurappa’s third unsuccessful attempt to topple the government in the past six months. But many in the BJP allege that the real reason why he wanted to topple the government was his fear that he won’t become chief minister again if he doesn’t act swiftly.

A BJP leader pointed out that if the JD(S)-Congress coalition completes five years, there will be enough time for the BJP to groom a new set of leaders ahead of the 2023 elections, like the party did in Maharashtra.

By that time, Yeddyurappa will be 80 and unlikely to be the party’s face in the state.

“The attempt to poach MLAs and destabilise the government is part of his desperate attempt to get power and stay relevant in the BJP for a few more years,” pointed out a Congress leader.

Down But Not Out As Yet

Even though Yeddyurappa’s dreams of the becoming the chief minister have taken a hit, his role in the BJP is unlikely to be diminished, at least till the Lok Sabha elections are over.

For many years, the BJP has been talking about grooming a new set of leaders in Karnataka but so far no mass leaders comparable to Yeddyurappa have emerged in the state. On the other hand, the BJP’s rivals have at least two mass leaders in former chief minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress and current chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of the JD(S).

So while Yeddyurappa’s tactics may not have clicked, he still remains the face of the BJP in Karnataka.

Karnataka has 28 Lok Sabha seats. With the JD(S) and Congress likely to contest together, the BJP’s chances in Southern Karnataka are limited. This means that the party has to try and sweep North Karnataka. Yeddyurappa is the biggest influencer in this Lingayat dominated region of the state.

The party will need Yeddyurappa during the Lok Sabha elections. However, after that his future appears bleak.

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