Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa, the 76-year-old chief minister of Karnataka, is trying to establish a ‘mai baap state (socialist state)’ by taking leaf out of populist Congress leaders. This is the fourth time Yediyurappa has sworn in as Chief Minister of the state in July 2019, and in the last 6 months, his government has been busy in trying to accommodate the turncoats instead focus on development agenda.
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. In the latest cabinet expansion, Yediyurappa gave the ministerial position to 10- S.T. Somashekhar, Ramesh L. Jarkiholi, Anand Singh, K. Sudhakar, B.A. Basavaraja, A. Shivaram Hebbar, B.C. Patil, K. Gopalaiah, Narayana Gowda and Shrimant B. Patil- out of 11 turncoats. The only hopper MLA who was not given is Mahesh Kumathalli, whom Yediyurappa promised to give “another big responsibility”.
However, a decision worst than all this is the 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.
Kia Motors Corporation, a South Korean automobile major, has a plant in Andhra Pradesh with an annual capacity of 3 lakh units and created 12,000 direct and indirect jobs. The plant was completed in December last year with an investment worth 1.1 billion dollars. But within months of Reddy government in the state, the automobile giant is considering to shift to Tamil Nadu due to the state’s policy to reserve 75 per cent jobs for locals.
The major issue with the Andhra’s state policy is the newly passed act which reserves 75 per cent reservation to locals in the jobs in companies in the state, said an official. The 75 per cent reservation to locals’ policy has gained popularity among the Congress party and other opposition parties in the last few years, along with farm loan waivers and unemployment benefits. The party won the elections in MP, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh on these populist promises and therefore implemented them. But, these policies have done immense damage to the macroeconomic condition of these states.
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. This regional chauvinism would go too far in the coming years and would end up destroying the economy of the state.