Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi
Udupi, Mar 19: For the past one year, Udupi MLA and state minister Pramod Madwaraj has been more in the news for his alleged 'BJP joining' issue than any other developmental or political reasons. Though he has clarified several times through the media that he has no intention of leaving the Congress and joining BJP, rumours are floating around that the countdown has now begun for Pramod to join the Bharatiya Janata Party which is ruling the centre.
Several questions now arise, including 'why Pramod should leave Congress?' and 'Is he not happy in Congress?' The first-time MLA, who won by a record margin against BJP candidate in Udupi Assembly constituency in 2013 election and even got the ministerial berth, has never expressed any negativity against his party. The questions remained unanswered as he reluctantly denied his 'BJP joining' rumours time and again.
But recent activities have now once again raised eyebrows, giving credence to the feeling among the party people as well as his followers that Pramod would leave the Congress for sure.
No 1: It is alleged that BJP's higher authorities have some files which might cause trouble to the minister's political career, and those files might force him into long legal battles. The recent raid on the fisheries industry is construed by some as an indirect 'message' to Madhwaraj. To avoid any such embarrassment, Pramod might opt for an easy way out by leaving the party. Pramod is reportedly not only a winning candidate in Udupi, but also a strong pillar supporting the Congress in the form of funds. His good PR work, and excellent relations with even political opponents are positive points in his political career.
No 2: If anyone has noticed, of late, Pramod has hardly criticised the BJP party or leaders, specially Udupi MP Shobha Karandlaje who is a fierce attacker of the Congress. Though Shobha has attacked CM Siddaramaiah and the Congress almost every day, Pramod has not spoken a single word against Shobha nor even defended his party. This 'friendly' attitude of Pramod has raised further eyebrows on this issue.
No 3: The sudden announcement of Shiroor Swamiji's entry into politics could be part of Pramod Madwaraj's strategy. The point to be noted here is that Swamiji put a condition to the BJP that if the party gives a ticket to Pramod, he would withdraw from contesting, otherwise he would contest as an independent! Did Pramod want to a pass on a message through Shiroor Swamiji? Moreover, Shiroor Swamiji's lavish praise for Pramod, without any real need for it, also makes one ponder. No wonder if Pramod openly admits tomorrow that he is joining the BJP at the behest of Shiroor Swamiji!
No 4: People have already pointed out how Pramod ignored top Congress leaders including the CM and party president Rahul Gandhi and even the Congress symbol in his election publicity vehicle. He has featured only himself, keeping away party politics. Sources however say Pramod has himself not spoken to the Congress leaders about his plans nor expressed any displeasure with the party.
Opposition from BJP
Local BJP leaders however are not happy about Pramod's rumoured induction. It is reliably learnt that former MLA Raghupati Bhat and another couple of leaders have expressed their strong reservations to party high command and RSS leaders. They may not work actively if Pramod is fielded as the BJP candidate, sources say.
Jayaprakash Hegde, who joined the BJP last year has also opposed the idea of Pramod joining the BJP.
Recently, T J Abraham, a social activist from Bengaluru, accused Pramod Madhwaraj, who is also the fisheries minister, of allegedly defrauding a bank to the tune of Rs 193 crore. The complaint was filed with the finance minister and the governor by Abraham. It is alleged that Abraham was prompted by a local BJP leader so as to block his entry into the party.
Why the Delay
If sources close to the BJP are to be believed, the muhurat for Pramod joining the BJP was fixed twice in the past, but due to 'local leaders versus high command' politics, it was postponed twice. Now, if all goes as planned, Amit Shah wants Rahul Gandhi to be embarrassed during his visit to Udupi on March 20 and 21 with the announcement of the resignation of a state minister from the Congress party to join the BJP.
In the next couple of days, it will be clear whether Pramod really wants to leave the Congress or remain in Congress as a disciplined soldier. It may be mentioned here that his mother Manorama Madhwaraj, at one time the tallest Congress leader, also joined the BJP and became MP from Udupi. She is still in BJP. Mother-son duo could soon be seen in BJP, but surely this will not affect the BJP's stand of opposing 'dynasty' politics!