As per a letter circulating in media and political circles of Karnataka, BS Yediyurappa, the CM of the state, is only titular CM while BY Vijayendra, the son of the 76-year-old chief minister, is exercising the real power. In the last few years, Yediyurappa has aggressively promoted his son in BJP as well as among Lingayats, the dominant community of the state, and now with him as CM, Vijayenndra is exercising the influence.
“Vijayendra is the de facto CM, super CM. Vijayendra has overseen the appointment of officials in every ministry. He is running the administration instead of his father,” alleged the unsigned letter, believed to be written by disgruntled BJP MLAs.
The letter also accused of cutting down the influence of other Lingayat community leaders, in order to promote his son; and suggested that he should retire with Governor Position, for the benefit of the party and the state. “Yediyurappa has neither not allowed any other leader from his (Lingayat) community to grow within the party, nor will he allow it in future as he is basically jealous. It is painful to see someone at this age struggle to run the administration. But considering his age and experience, he must be honoured with a governor’s post somewhere,” reads the letter. The letter also alleged that Yediyurappa has become “weak, helpless, and inactive.”
It must be noted that BJP which calls itself party with a difference, has always been against dynastic politics. In 2018 assembly election, the central leadership forced Yediyurappa to take down Vijayendra’s name from Varuna seat, from where CM Siddaramaiah’s son, Dr Yathindra contested. Vijyendra is credited with BJP’s win in Karnataka assembly by-polls- which happened after many Congress and JD(U) legislators broke from the party- in which the party won 12 out of 15 seats. Yediyurappa has aggressively promoted his son since then, making sure his presence in almost every big Lingayat community convention.
The politics and policies of Yediyurappahas not been in sync with the ideology of BJP and the politics of central leadership. In fact, the 76-year-old leader is trying to establish a ‘maibaap state (socialist state)’ by taking a leaf out of populist Congress leaders.
His government’s decisions in the last six months have been far from satisfactory and he has continued dropping one socialist policy bomb after another. The Karnataka government is trying to bring a new policy to dole out reservation to locals in industries, MSMEs, joint ventures and public-private partnerships. The reservation for Kannigadas in jobs in Karnataka is doing rounds in the policy circles of the states since more than a decade. But, no government implemented it so far, despite the fact the state was even ruled by JD(S), a regionalist party.
Other regionalist parties like YSRCP also implemented the policy in the state, but the same could not be done in Karnataka even in Congress and JD(S) regime. The Congress party, which implemented the policy in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, has not been able to do the same in Karnataka due to pressure from the IT industry. But, the Yediyurappa government is dedicated to implementing the policy and has prepared the draft bill for it.
In August last year, Yediyurappa had said that “I would like to reiterate and declare that this government respects the sentiments of the people of this land. We are committed to ensuring that the self-respect and job opportunities of Kannadigas are never compromised or come under threat.”
The negative impact of regional chauvinism is visible on the economy of Andhra Pradesh, where the industries are mulling over the idea of shifting to the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh.
In order to appease the voters in the state, Yediyurappa could end up doing massive damage to the economy of Karnataka, whose economy is dependent on the high-tech sector, which receives talent not only from the state across India but from other countries too.