As the 20 month old BJP-JD(S) marriage is headed for the rocks, the real story is playing out in the Supreme Court away from the media’s gaze. While HD Kumaraswamy has now suddenly re-discovered “psuedo-secularism” and finds the BJP “communal” the father HD Deve Gowda is talking in code on new terms and rules/regulations. With the BJP firmly putting its foot down on the 2006 pact being non-negotiable, Offstumped analyses why the father son Gowda duo is playing this game of brinkmanship.

For starters it is very clear that neither Gowda’s lip service to “psuedo-secularism” nor the “character assasination” alleged Kumaraswamy is the motivating factor for the father-son duo to face elections. At stake is the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project, BMIC. Back in April of 2006 the Supreme Court had disposed of a Special Leave Petition to dispose of a challenge alleging that the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise, NICE, had acquired more land than necessary for the project. The 2006 verdict a slap on the face of Gowda and Kumarswamy capped a 3 year crusade by Gowda to have the project, which he himself signed into creation back in 1995, scuttled.

The then Karnataka Chief Minister Shri. H.D. Deve Gowda (Center) and
Massachusetts Governor William Weld (left), signing the Memorandum
of Understanding in Feb. 1995.

Gowda’s tirade against the BMIC started in Dec 2003 when he accused then Chief Minister SM Krishna of colluding to loot land for the BMIC. The real heartburn of Gowda was the appreciation of the real estate value subsequent to the development of the project. On Dec 27th Gowda gave it a public cause spin with his charge that farmers got low rate for land.

Ever since the 2006 verdict the father-son duo explored every loophole in the rulebook to get the project scuttled including an attempt at introducing a legislation to takeover the BMIC Project which was aborted with the BJP refusing to play ball.

The issued which lingered on finally came to the fore with the transfer of power deadline looming on the Gowdas. Setting the stage for the showdown was an affidavit in the Supreme Court on July 28 indicating the Government’s reluctance to permit Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) to execute the BMIC project. The ostensible excuse – a competitive bid from US-based company, Global Infrastructure Consortium, has offered to implement the project where it was ready to build a monorail on a 17-km stretch, pay a self-imposed penalty for any delay and did not require excess land.

With over a week to go for handover of power the Kumaraswamy Government set the stage for subverting the project on which NICE had spent nearly 1200 crores through a novel innovation known as the “Swiss Challenge” by inviting fresh bids on September 20.

With just a few days to go for transfer of power on Sept 27th the Supreme Court stayed the tendering process with these remarks

“this matter requires consideration particularly whether you (the State) can contravene the directions issued by this court and issue such a notification.”

This setback explains the shifting of the goal post by the father son duo by dragging the issue of transfer of power beyond the Oct 3rd. On October 1st the Kumaraswamy Government filed a fresh petition in the Supreme Court this time with another innovation “eminent domain“.

It is anyone’s guess what conditions Gowda will lay down in tomorrow’s meeting with Rajnath Singh. The father son duo are likely banking on one of two scenarios – the first assumes the BJP wilts or a section of its MLAs split to keep HDK in business, the second assumes HDK remains caretaker CM or minority CM with outside support from the Congress while the state heads for polls in all likelihood with the parliamentary polls whenever that happens.

No matter which scenario ultimately prevails Gowda is looking to buy time in the vain hope that either the “swiss challenge” or “eminent domain” will fulfill his vengance and greed.

This is a defining moment for both the BJP and the Congress.

Do they want to indulge Gowda’s vengance, greed and allow him to scuttle the BMIC ?

or

Will they stand firm and not allow political considerations to rule end of the day ?

Offstumped will be watching…..

http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in/2007/10/04/gowdas-swiss-challenge/#comments

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