Bangalore: DVS Might Yet Survive, Cabinet Expansion After Presidential Polls
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Jun 28: The beleaguered Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananada Gowda, whose ouster even before completing one year in the coveted post appeared certain till Wednesday evening due to pressure tactics from the former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and his supporters, seems to have weathered the storm and going by present indications might yet survive in office.
Though it is too early for Gowda to celebrate his tactical victory, present indications In the ruling BJP in the State seem to suggest that he is unlikely to be disturbed despite the strong-arm tactics of Yeddyurappa to unseat him and install rural development and panchayat raj minister Jagadish Shettar in the hot seat.
In a sudden development, the chief minister, who had suddenly fixed a press conference in Vidhana Soudha in the evening to present the BJP Government’s performance report to the people through the media on Thursday evening, pre-poned the press conference by almost three hours and cancelled the customary dinner organized for the media representatives on Thursday night.
While the dinner for the media representatives has been indefinitely postponed, Gowda also advanced his scheduled visit to Delhi on Friday and decided to fly to the national capital by a special flight in the afternoon itself.
But within an hour of the press conference, the chief minister dropped his plans to rush the Delhi reportedly after the BJP high command advised him not to come to Delhi. It is learnt that the BJP national leadership made it clear that there is no question of change in leadership.
High Command Emissary Cancels Visit
Though BJP central party in-charge of the State unit Dharmendra Pradhan was supposed to arrive in the city as scheduled on Friday, by evening it became clear that the visit of the high command emissary had been cancelled in a serious setback to the Yeddyurappa camp.
A disappointed Yeddyurappa and his supporters are holding an emergency meeting late in the night at the former’s residence to decide their further course of action. Whether Yeddyurappa will decide to quit BJP or not, there is speculation that some of his ministerial supporters might decide to tender their resignation to the DVS ministry. There is speculation that Yeddyurappa and his supporters might decide to bid goodbye to BJP, though none of the leaders are willing to confirm or deny the rumours.
The chief minister had reportedly made up his mind to rush to Delhi ahead of schedule to be present during the filing of the nomination papers by the former Lok Sabha speaker and tribal Christian leader from the North-East P A Sangma, whose candidature has been endorsed by the BJP-led NDA, the real reason according to informed sources is to hold discussions with the BJP high command, especially former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Lok Sabha opposition leader Sushma Swaraj and former BJP national present Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, who have emerged as the staunchest supporters of Gowda.
Gowda was also planning to meet Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on various State-related issues and other Union Ministers, the real purpose of Gowda’s sudden early departure to Delhi is to prevent the BJP national leadership from going ahead with its plans to unseat him and give in to Yeddyurappa’s designs to install his Lingayat community leader Jagadish Shettar as the next chief minister.
''Speculation from the Beginning"
The political speculation that BJP national president Nitin Gadkari and party opposition leader Arun Jaitely may have agreed to Yeddyurappa’s demand to allow Shettar to replace Gowda in July may have prompted Gowda to advance his visit to Delhi, which was eventually cancelled.
When the chief minister was asked during the press conference to spell out the reasons for his decision to make a sudden Delhi visit and the inexplicable cancellation of the plans for hosting a dinner for the media on Thursday night, Gowda literally snapped and said: ''You cannot ask the Chief Minister on the reasons for his Delhi visit. There are too many urgent matters for discussion with the Centre and party leadership.”
Replying to a pointed question on the speculation in political circles that he might be replaced, the Chief Minister said: ''There is no end to the speculation. If you remember, this kind of speculation has been going on ever since I assumed power.”
He, however, calmed down a little later and said he is flying to be at hand during the filing of the nomination papers by the NDA candidate Sangma in the Presidential polls. ''I also have meetings with the Prime Minister and other Central leaders,” he said.
Cabinet Expansion on the Cards
Asked about the delay in filling up the 11 vacancies in his cabinet and carrying on as many as 15 major departments, Gowda said the absence of ministers has not affected the Government’s performance as is evident from the excellent performance highlighted in the performance report of 4-year rule brought out in the voluminous book, ''All Embracing 4 Years” and the winning of several national and international awards by different departments. ''I have been constantly reviewing and monitoring the functioning of different departments. There are several very efficient, capable officers and staff to deliver the goods,” he said.
The chief minister said he had discussed the issue of cabinet expansion and filling up the vacant ministerial berths with the party high command. It had been held up due to various reasons and would be taken up with the Central leaders. ''We will probably go ahead with the cabinet expansion after the Presidential polls,” he said dropping broad hints that he will continue in power till the end of next month.
With Gowda completing one year in office on August 4, it is quite likely that he may not be disturbed around the time of his first anniversary in office. If the party’s central leadership goes ahead with the present thinking that it would be counter-productive and damaging to the party prospects ahead of the assembly polls, which might well be held in December along with that of Gujarat, the chief minister might well continue in power.
At best, the party might accommodate Yeddyurappa in the State party unit and might probably appoint the former chief minister either as State Campaign committee chairman or even as State party president with a view to ensure the politically powerful Lingayat community to which he belongs feels happy. But that depends on Yeddyurappa’s next moves.
Eshwarappa has Much to Chew On
Giving credence to this theory, the State party president K S Eshwarappa, who himself has thrown his hat in the ring after it became almost certain that Shettar might replace Gowda to end the present political power struggle in the State, chose to keep off from the chief minister’s press conference even though he was very much present in Vidhana Soudha.
Barely a handful of ministers like B N Bacche Gowda, S Suresh Kumar and Vasant Asonotikar along with senior officials, attended the press conference.
When a few reporters, who came across Eshwarappa coming out of Vidhana Soudha and asked him why he was rushing off angrily, he shot back: ''I am going to have lunch.”
But by evening, Eshwarappa seemed to have reconciled to the situation that he may not get a chance to become the chief minister or even make a bid. He made it categorically clear to reporters that there will not be any change of leadership in the State.
Clearly, Eshwarappa, who may have realized that his hopes and ambitions to become the chief minister will not materialize, had too much to chew on along with his food.
However, it is still too early to completely ignore the threat to the Sadananda Gowda’s chief ministership from Yeddyurappa and his supporters as sudden and dramatic developments can never be ruled out.