(This is in continuation of the earlier article)

The BJP which must be considered as a strong party in the current elections since it has been in power for the last term is reeling under the pressure of defections to KJP  and its present leadership does not show any promise. It is unlikely that its prospects will make any significant improvement before the elections.

Had it been a national election, some body like Mr Narendra Modi could have made a difference. But in the local elections, national leaders will have little impact and the local leaders alone influence the elections. Unfortunately BJP has no credible local leadership at present.

After the exit of Mr Yeddyurappa, BJP had several opportunities particularly during the Cauvery movement to regain some respect. Had Mr Shettar resigned on the Cauvery issue in opposition to the Supreme Court verdict, there would have been lot of respect for him in the South Karnataka region. But he showed no leadership qualities to either put up a strong case for Karnataka in the national theater nor take the political step of resigning in protest.

BJP first erred by delaying replacement of Mr Yeddyurappa and then replacing   Mr D V Sadananda Gowda who was showing a good promise. The party went for a a caste based decision to bring on a Lingayat in the form of Mr Shettar and clung on to power until the last moment. This has destroyed the moral base of the party and the national leadership completely and there is no way it can regain the faith of public in the near future without a major surgery.

Had the party resigned earlier, there would have been better respect and sympathy for the party. By allowing the KJP workers to remain in the party as Ministers and MLAs even when they were working for KJP, the party showed that it was too weak to administer and had no desire to send out corrupt and rogue elements within the party.

This in a way reflected that the party had no leadership character.

The central unit of the party consisting of people like Mr Arun Jaitely and Sushma Swaraj could not intervene perhaps because the party was having problems at the national level with Mr Gadkari’s issues.  Mr Rajnath Singh who has assumed office as party president in the center is yet to find time to address the Karnataka problems.

Just as the Shettar Government clinging on to power even during the KJP formation resulted in further erosion of it’s base, clinging onto the current leadership in the hope that Lingayats vote bank will help them into power will only push the Party to further doom which will hurt the more important Loksabha prospects.

The Lingayat vote bank if any will get divided with KJP and the Gowda vote bank if any will consolidate with JDS. Muslim vote bank will remain with Congress, BJP will therefore have no vote banks left for itself.

Under the circumstances, for BJP in Karnataka the best strategy is to completely break from the past and try to build a new image under a new leader. This should be  more in preparation for the next Loksabha elections rather than the present state elections. It is better for them to sacrifice the assembly to retain some respect to be encashed in the Loksabha elections.

This may require BJP to find a new leader with a clean image who was not part of the mess that we have seen in the last two years. It is not clear if BJP top brass have realised this .

The party  may still win some seats because of the micro level caste and power equations. But this will not be the victory of a party based on any principles. It will be a congregation of “independents” who have adopted the party symbol for marginal gains.  The strength will be so low that it would be a great surprise if it can be part of the  Government in the next term with or without coalitions.

…continued..part III

Na.Vijayashankar

As A Voter in Karnataka

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