KJP syndrome ails BJP ahead of assembly polls

Bangalore, March 29 (IANS) Karnataka's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is at its wit's end as it prepares for the May 5 assembly polls. The party does not seem to have a clue on how to shake off the KJP (Karnataka Janata Party) syndrome that threatens to shatter its hope of retaining power in the polls.

The BJP rightly diagnoses that the Congress is its main opponent across Karnataka with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) posing a challenge to both the parties in some parts of the state.

The BJP's actions however show that its main worry is the KJP, headed by the party's former leader B.S. Yeddyurappa.

The KJP is unlikely to win a significant number of seats but has the potential to severely damage the BJP's prospects in the polls to the 225-member assembly that is made up of 224 elected members and one nominated member.

The need for damage control has meant the BJP playing the waiting game to select its candidates as the party is not sure how many of its leaders would desert it to join the KJP.

So far Yeddyurappa, who quit the BJP in November last year, has managed to wean away three ministers and around 10 BJP legislators to his KJP.

At least three more ministers and several legislators are expected to quit the BJP soon and go along with Yeddyurappa as they do not have any hope of the party retaining power.

A few ministers and BJP legislators have also been trying for tickets from the Congress as they expect the party to wrest power from the BJP.

These developments have left the BJP in a fix - it knows the Congress is the main challenger but its focus is more on containing the damage from the KJP.

A fallout of this dilemma is manifold - from delayed decisions and belated acknowledgement that it tolerated corruption to increasing dependency on caste and regional equations to fight the poll.

After desperately trying to retain Yeddyurappa in the party, state BJP leaders are now going round telling the people that the party "has been cleansed" with "corrupt leaders" leaving it.

Yeddyurappa, the BJP's first chief minister in the state, was forced out of office in July 2011 over mining bribery charges and is fighting a dozen cases of corruption and illegal land deals.

The BJP's "we are now clean" talk, however, carries little weight as several ministers, including two deputy chief ministers K.S. Eshwarappa and R. Ashoka, are also fighting corruption cases.

The party had to suffer the embarrassment of police raiding Eshwarappa's residences in Bangalore and his home town Shimoga a few months back in search of evidence that he had amassed huge property.

Eshwarappa was then holding the twin positions of state BJP president and deputy chief minister.

He quit the party post March 7 but his successor Pralhad Joshi, a Lok Sabha member from Dharwad, about 400 km north of Bangalore, was appointed only on March 21.

With Chief Ninister Jagadish Shettar also hailing from Dharwad, the BJP apparently believes the importance it has given to north Karnataka would fetch it dividends in the May polls.

The party had won 55 of the 90 assembly seats from the 11 north Karnataka districts in the 2008 polls.

While Joshi is a Brahmin, Shettar is a Lingayat, a community that is in dominant position in north Karnataka and is generally believed to be supporting the BJP.

Yeddyurappa is also a Lingayat.

With nominations closing April 17, the BJP has less than three weeks to evolve a strategy to contain damage from the KJP and also win the people's trust again - a difficult task for a party that has so far shown it is good at playing waiting games.

(V.S. Karnic can be contacted at vs.karnic@ians.in)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »