Karnataka MLC Polls A Victory For CM Yediyurappa? Not Really

The snubs against Yediyurappa were part of the RSS faction’s plan to make him politically irrelevant in the state.

Updated20 Jun 2020, 03:01 AM IST
3 min read

By conspicuously snubbing Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, the Bharatiya Janata Party high command had made the changing political equations in state politics clear. Rejecting all the three names recommended by Yediyurappa for the Rajya Sabha polls on 19 June is the latest in the series of snubs.

These snubs were part of the RSS faction's plan to make Yediyurappa politically irrelevant in the state.

So, on 16 June, the announcement of candidates for biennial Legislative Council polls was projected as a victory for Yediyurappa since candidates of his choice got the ticket, or it was claimed.

But this is far from reality. A closer look at these political developments shows that BS Yediyurappa getting to choose the MLC candidates made little difference to this political stature.

A Political Victory That Wasn't

The four candidates fielded for the MLC elections were MTB Nagaraj, R Shankar, Sunil Vallyapure and Pratap Simha Nayak. The claims that all four candidates were Yediyurappa's men aren't entirely accurate, and there are three aspects to this argument.

First, among the four candidates, Pratap Simha Nayak, the former Dakshina Kannada district president, is a party worker from the grassroots, and a choice of the RSS camp.

Second, the central leadership of the party has rejected one of the recommendations by the state core committee, which is essentially Yediyurappa's chosen candidate.

The original list submitted by the Yediyurappa camp had former minister AH Vishwanath’s the name. He had resigned from the JD(S) to join the BJP when the saffron party pulled off a coup to get to power in 2019.

AH Vishwanath, who was the former state president of Janata Dal (Secular) was promised a seat by Yediyurappa during the time of his resignation.

The party high command chose Pratap Simha Nayak over Vishwanath, overturning Yediyurappa’s decision.

Fielding Rebels was Party's Commitment, Not CM’s

The third and crucial point that proves the MLC election was not a political victory for Yediyurappa is the history behind the selection of the first three candidates.

MTB Nagaraj and R Shankar had joined the BJP after deserting the Congress-JDS coalition in 2019. They were instrumental in bringing the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government to power in the state. While MTB lost the by-election, Shankar was not given a ticket in the bypolls.

The third candidate, Sunil Vallyapure had given up his incumbent Chincholi Assembly constituency. This seat was given to Arvind Umesh Jadhav, who is the son of another Congress turncoat, Umesh Jadhav. The ticket to his son was a reward for shifting camps.

The candidates were essentially repaid for helping the BJP come to power by changing parties. Yediyurappa alone didn't decide to give these turncoats tickets and posts. It was the decision of the party high command as well.

A relook at the political situation in the context of factors mentioned above shows that the selection of the MLC candidates has not improved Yediyurappa’s political stance in the state.

A statement from the MLC ticket aspirant quoted by The Hindu proves this further: "Now, we cannot rely on any of the state leaders, including prominent ministers for lobbying on our behalf. The high command has clearly shown that there are no fixed parameters for selection of candidates and that the ground is wide open."

In fact, the MLC elections have enforced the narratives the high command wants to push in Karnataka – if you want posts or tickets, you should approach the high command and not Yediyurappa.

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Published: 19 Jun 2020, 01:29 PM IST
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