Vishwamitra was a Great Saint Until Menaka Danced Before Him: Or The Story of the BJP

Note: This is a translation of Pratap Simha’s column in Kannada Prabha entitled, Menake Bandu Kuniyuvavaregu Vishwamitra Mahatapaswiyaagidda. BJPya katheyu haage aaytu! published on 11 May 2013. 

Who do we need to blame amongst these: B.S. Yeddyurappa, K.S. Eshwarappa, Jagadish Shettar, Ananth Kumar, Sushma Swaraj, Lal Krishna Advani, and Nitin Gadkari? Who do we hold accountable? Was the Karnataka BJP reduced to this pathetic state thanks to just one person? Or was it the combined “efforts” of these leaders that led to the ignominious end of the first BJP Government in the South in just five years? You might have heard of the Bay of Pigs invasion. That was the brainchild of the CIA which armed the rebels against the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in order to unseat him. The invasion occurred on 17 April 1961. However, Castro suppressed this uprising in just three days. Meanwhile, back in the U.S. everybody pointed fingers at this “failure” squarely at John F Kennedy. It was during this phase that Kennedy gave us the memorable "Victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan” quote.

But…

When the BJP formed its first Government in South India in 2008, the leader who questionably championed it to electoral victory was B.S. Yeddyurappa. However, when we observe the shocking drubbing it received on 8 May 2013, we see a thousand leaders responsible for it.

How did the BJP even reach such a humiliating state?

The BJP has stormed back to power in Gujarat thrice in a row and is all set to retain power for a third consecutive time in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Manohar Parrikar has already been earned kudos for his governance in Goa. In Rajasthan, the BJP’s prospects to capture power are looking increasingly bright. If this is has been the case with the BJP in various states in the country, why did so much mud stick to it in Karnataka? Just as a leader earns laurels for doing good work, it becomes imperative on him/her to shoulder the responsibility when things go wrong.

Therefore, was B.S. Yeddyurappa, the man who built the BJP in Karnataka from the scratch, an avaricious leader? He was the Deputy Chief Minister in the JDS-BJP coalition Government in 2006 headed by the Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. In those days, the Sangh Parivar sent one of its own members to the Deputy Chief Minister’s office in order to stem the rot of corruption and middlemen that were littered all over the administration. Yeddyurappa welcomed the move, a demonstration of his commitment for the welfare of the people of Karnataka. Back then, liquor used to be distributed to wine shops through private agents. In a bid to increase the revenue to the state coffers, Yeddyurappa decided to eliminate these agents and reorganize liquor distribution through the state-owned MSIL. Alarmed by this move, the lobby of these private agents approached him with a massive booty, which he refused to touch. He formed a team headed by the then Tax Commissioner Harish Gowda and launched innovative schemes for filling up the state’s treasury and embarked on a series of pro-people programmes. It was around this time that the Chief Minister Kumaraswamy announced a complete waiver of farmers’ loans. Yeddyurappa who was also the Finance Minister opposed this move. Meanwhile, the person deputed by the Sangh to Yeddyurappa’s office also launched Breakfast with the Deputy Chief Minister, an initiative aimed at promoting dialogue and enhancing relations between the Legislators, MPs, and the Party. Legislators, MPs, and party heads of various districts began visiting the Deputy CM everyday for breakfast to discuss their needs, fund allocations for development projects, and ideas on strengthening the party. The idea had a good impact: it built a healthy rapport right from the top between the Deputy CM all the way down to local leaders.

This however, didn’t go down well with a few sycophants who surrounded Yeddyurappa.

Till date, even if Dr. Parameshwar (President of the Karnataka Unit of the Congress Party) or Chief Minister Siddaramaiah needs to meet Sonia Gandhi, they need to first make a call to Oscar Fernandes. In the past, this place was decorated by Margaret Alva. Thus, just like how Oscar, Alva, and Ahmed Patel are to Sonia Gandhi, Shobha Karandlaje and Siddalingaswamy are to Yeddyurappa. The duo now upped their antennae. A fort was suddenly built around Yeddyurappa. The Deputy CM who had genuine concern for the plight of farmers and the state was forced—for various reasons—to endure the unquenchable avarice of such people.

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy reneged on his promise of giving up the Chief Ministership to Yeddyurappa. Elections were announced on 25 May 2008. Although the BJP romped home with 110 seats, anxiety still prevailed in their camp. There was the danger of the Congress (with 80 seats) and the JDS (with 28 seats) teaming up again with a combined tally of 108 seats. In such circumstances, the BJP was successful in securing the support of 6 Independent MLAs and forming the Government. However, these MLAs were rebels who had walked out of either the Congress or the JDS. Thus, the danger of them returning back to the mother ship was always present. This danger didn’t go away despite giving ministerial berths to five of these Independents. It was then that the BJP embarked on “Operation Kamala,” an episode that directly axes at the foundational aspirations of an electoral democracy. Now, it required at least 5-6 crores to get one MLA to crossover to the BJP, and then it would require another 15-20 crores to win the by-elections as a result of the defection. The mind boggles when we try and compute the amount of money that would have been required to pull 11 MLAs to the BJP’s side. It was then that the party looked at the Bellary Reddy Brothers and Sriramulu.

That only worsened the condition even further. The Reddy Brothers began to openly strut around claiming that it was they who put the BJP in power. They thumbed their nose at the Chief Minister himself and embarked on a spree of arrogance. They held the first batch of MLAs who came over as a result of Operation Kamala in their vise-like grip. Thus, in a bid to rein in both external and internal enemies, Yeddyurappa launched a second round of Operation Kamala. This time, he handpicked people of his own caste and gave them prominent positions in the Government so that his own seat would remain secure. In a line, Yeddyurappa began to spend more time trying to insure his seat than looking into the affairs of the state and the welfare of the people.

The BJP celebrated its second year in Government at the Bangalore palace grounds. Guess who Sushma Swaraj—who flew down all the way from Delhi—praised on the occasion? She sang mellifluous praises of the good work done by Sriramulu, Janaradhan Reddy, and Karunakara Reddy, and didn’t have a single word for Chief Minister Yeddyurappa who had by then put into motion several innovative and pro-people programmes. When such incidents occur, isn’t it but obvious for the Chief Minister to feel jittery?

Yeddyurappa now began to suspect everyone in the party thanks to such episodes, not to mention his numerous run-ins with the wily Ananth Kumar. For Ananth Kumar, this was a God-sent opportunity. He had been sitting idle for 9 years without doing any productive work, and had been whiling away his time spending the money that he had earned when he was a Minister. This is the same Ananth Kumar whose jealousy made him squelch the prospects of another Brahmin leader Suresh Kumar, who has the reputation of being a clean politician. Indeed, prominent members in the Sangh Parivar aver that Ananth Kumar helped Congress party’s leader N.L. Narendra Babu to defeat Suresh Kumar in the 2004 elections. Therefore, would Ananth Kumar, his eyes set on the Chief Minister’s chair, spare Yeddyurappa? It was Ananth Kumar’s hidden hand that engineered the phony rebellion drama led by the Reddy Brothers. The outcome? Jagadish Shettar who was the Speaker became a Minister. However, Yeddyurappa who is sentimental by nature never understood such cabals.

In any case, whatever ensues whenever intra-party fights break out, when there’s mutual distrust, and when everybody lusts for power, also ensued with the BJP. The sage Vishwamitra was a great renunciate until the heavenly damsel Menaka worked her charms on him. In pretty much the same way, the BJP’s weaknesses came out in the open the moment they were confronted with power and money. Even then, things could have been salvaged had the Central BJP leadership come over to Karnataka, worked out a plan for intra-party harmony, and thrown  its weight fully behind Yeddyurappa. The party leadership would have then had the moral right to demand accountability from Yeddyurappa if things went wrong. Instead, they repeatedly sent the postman, Dharmendra Pradhan. Even worse, Sushma Swaraj began to behave as if she was the representative of the Reddy Brothers while a senior leader like L.K. Advani acted as if he was Ananth Kumar’s mouthpiece. The consequence: both the Government and the party hurtled towards the ditch. Thanks to the detractors in his own party’s High Command and a media witch hunt, Yeddyurappa was isolated.

The name of the person in the BJP who made hay even as the party was in such doldrums is Dr. Kalladka Prabhakara Bhat who hails from the (undivided) South Canara belt of Mangalore-Udupi. If the BJP today has been thoroughly routed in this region winning just two out of 15 seats, the entire responsibility of the defeat lies squarely on Dr. Prabhakara Bhat’s shoulders. His haughtiness was extraordinary. What most people also forget is the fact that if the South Canara is a BJP stronghold, majority of the credit goes to Jagadish Karanth, and not Prabhakara Bhat. However, Bhat began to project himself as the builder and the pillar of the Sangh Parivar and the party in South Canara. In the guise of doing social good through his school, he embarked on a “collection” drive. This drive became so shameless that it knocked on the doors of even the Kollur Mookambika temple! It was in this connection that a feud erupted between him and Vajpayee Haladi Srinivasa Shetty who hails from Kundapur. He made sure that Srinivasa Shetty was denied a cabinet berth. His arrogant, octopus-like tentacles spread everywhere from temple managements to the Tulu Academy. His loyalists became heads and members of these institutions. Equally, his sycophants like Srikar Prabhu too showed their true colours. The result: selfless party workers began to distance themselves from the party. It was Prabhakara Bhat who tried to deny the election ticket to a decent candidate like Yogish Bhat in favour of his sycophant, the selfsame Srikar Prabhu. When this was unsuccessful, he tried to sabotage Yogish Bhat’s chances. He was also responsible for throwing strong Bunt leaders like Nagaraj Shetty, Shakunthala Shetty, and Haladi Srinivas out of the party. Thus, thanks solely to Prabhakara Bhat, the election results have convincingly shown how the Bunt community has distanced itself from the BJP. He also rendered Kumble Sundarrao, Vinayachandra, Karkala Vijaykumar, Rukmayya Poojary, and Rama Bhat into insignificance. In Bantwal, he ensured that the ticket was given to an industrialist instead of the deserving Padmanabha Kothari thus ensuring the BJP’s defeat. When one observes all this, it is clear that the victories of Haladi Srinivas Shetty and Shakunthala Shetty are nothing but resounding slaps on the face of Prabhakara Bhat.

If the alienation of the Bunts is one side of the story, the other side is even more perverse. Prabhakar Bhat who wanted the Billava and the Mogaveera communities to take the brunt during dire times forgot them when it came to sharing power. Thanks to Bhat, these two communities never received their rightful representation in any area. The unfortunate folks from these communities who went to prison in the pub and the Home Stay episodes are still rotting in prison. It is difficult to find instances in South Canara where the fingers of Brahmins have been hurt. However, those who sacrificed almost everything for the Sangh and the party hailed from the Billava and the Mogaveera communities. Prabhakar Bhat simply, cynically used them. The result is evident in the poll results.

A parallel…

The answer as to what would happen to the BJP if Yeddyurappa quit is as clear as daylight, across the state. Simultaneously, it has also exposed the kind of phony leaders that Ananth Kumar, Eshwarappa, Jagadish Shettar et al really are. Perhaps, the BJP Central leadership has by now received a rude reality check as to the exact kind of “leader” that Ananth Kumar is. 

According to G. Madhusudan of the BJP, “Yeddyurappa may be short-tempered, but he’s not a person to hold grudges.” It’s true that while Yeddyurappa is short-tempered, he’s certainly not spurious like most of the so-called BJP leaders of Karnataka. The sooner the BJP Central leadership realizes this fact, the sooner they put forth a conciliatory proposal to him and re-induct him into the party with full honour, the better are the BJP’s chances in the 2014 General Elections. Else, Karnataka will most definitely turn out to be another Uttar Pradesh as far as the BJP is concerned. If it does not re-induct Yeddyurappa, its fate in Karnataka will be the same as that in Uttar Pradesh after it unceremoniously, humiliatingly dumped Kalyan Singh.

Beware!

25 comments for “Vishwamitra was a Great Saint Until Menaka Danced Before Him: Or The Story of the BJP

  1. June 15, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Makes sense…

    The problem is lack of big mass leaders. If there was someone else in the state with magical powers like Yeddy, BJP won’t be in this state. Let us see how future unfolds for all.

  2. June 13, 2013 at 11:07 PM

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    http://despoticorg.blogspot.in/2013/06/trivandrum-victim.html

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  3. S
    June 2, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    It’s Advani and Sushma.

  4. Vineet
    May 22, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Very nice article.

    BJP needs to be a lot more thick skinned. Rajnath should tell Sushma, Arun and like in clear terms that they need to win states before thinking of leading country.

    There is a news item today that Modi wants a more direct attack on Congress. It seems that Congress has some MMS shot of Advani and hence he is so defensive on Congress.

    The grand old man of the party should be firmly told to move away.

    RSS need to understand that Political parties run differently and assholes like Gadkari have no place. Gadkari’s term of 3years and ones by non descript presidents killed the party in last 6-7 years. It is only due to CMs and other leaders at regional level, that you can see some BJP presence.

    Wake up BJP – There is a huge electorate to be tapped.

    It is now or never scenario – the sooner they realise the better it is.

  5. Sridhar
    May 20, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    The defeat of BJP in Karnataka could have never been averted. Yes, BSY is a mass leader similar to Kalyan Singh but he also lost his mind after coming to power & ended being a replica of Kalyan Singh, i.e Corrupt & egoistic. Operation Kamal was biggest mistake made by BSY & the BJP paid heavily for it. No point in putting blame of armchair leaders like Ananth Kumar & Shettar.

  6. vijay
    May 19, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    BJPs vision stmt is totally wrong, all the time they want to come into power by hook or cook, want to make smaller states see the repercussions in MP,Chattisgarh and don’t know why Mr.Narendra Modi went to Chattisgarh now still 2014 Loksabha elections are one year ahead and he started the gimmicks from now itself, and they want to build RamJanmaBhoomi what will they achieve by building temple there now.Aurangzed is a ded dimaka fellow and now BJP is acting like ded dimaka… no proper planning and RamDevoBaba and other Sadhus(Sorry to say this) need to give Gyaan to all the MLAs/MPs.They say that Bar shops will be opened and encouraging the youth to become drinker.Mr.Narendra Modi should know that Bapuji said no drinking/smoking/fighting but he is quite contrary trying to spoil the youth by having links with Mr.Lalit Modi and the underworld Mafia – Dawood Ibrahim,Javed Miandad,Abu Salem and co and trying to spoil the youth.I don’t know what Mr.NRN liked so much in Mr.Narendra Modi.Totally to say in Nutshell BJP’s vision is wrong.
    They need to change the Manifesto and come clean for 2019 Loksabha Elections.For 2014 it’s Congress unanimous victory :)

  7. Madan Uppal
    May 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    BJP is no match for the guile/tricks of GOP.Former always axes its foot, the other is expert in deflecting to the others foot.It is dirty politics, dirty to the core.

  8. keshav
    May 18, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    There is a difference between a sage and saint. By the way Vishwamitra becomes great sage only after the Menaka incident not before that. Better to get the facts right!!

  9. Mundashi Laxman
    May 18, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    The article looks like written by Mr.Dhananjay Kumar !! BSY has been portrayed as an innocent stright forward gentleman. RSS has been drawn into the picture unnecessarily. But, reality is Mr.BSY who was guilty of corruption in Lokayukta report, pawn in the hands of Reddys,never took advices from High command, his arrogance, corruption by his cronies and children in de-notofication, neglecting the grass root workers and party loyalists by not sharing power, more than 50% ministers were defectors, immoral incidents like blue film vewing inside Assembly, Rave party, some of the MLAs indecent and loose character, and finally power mongering by each of the MLAs lead to the disaster. High Command is accountable on one count that they have not taken stock of situation regularly and independently.

    BSY should not allowed to come back now, he must understand where he is standing without BJP,. He is not the only person toiled for the party. Lakhs of dedidacated workers have worked day and night for the organisation. If BSY was in forefront of the struggle, he has also been the biggest beneficiary. Had he not been nominated as MLC in 1999 when he lost the MLA election, he would have ben nowhere by now. Whatever may the case, he should not have ditched the party and helped Congress just to get out of the CBI clutches.

  10. Akhilesh
    May 17, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Someone need to pass the message to BJP at national level that left to Advani and Sushma Swaraj, BJP will not be able to cross even 100 seats. Please keep these people out.

  11. SP
    May 17, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Role of Santosh Hegde in downfall of Yeddi was pivotal. He with Bhandwaj played dirty. Hegde buried mining scams of Kumaraswamy, Krishna and Dharam Singh’s. People must find out why Hegde acted that way. Threat, bribe or jealousy? If any one of this is true then all judgments of Santosh Hegde should be examined during his judgeship. He should be investigated for hiding facts and if found guilty should be punished.

  12. May 17, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Great piece of Information

  13. May 17, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Wow. Just…………. wow. Didn’t know the whole back story. Thanks!!!

  14. May 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    BSY-Reddy problem was deeper and primarily because the latter had liason with AP Congress. Sushma Swaraj played her bit of spoilsport too.

    Of course HRBharadwaj+Lokayukta dirty game was there too, but BSY must have been brought back.

  15. Eon
    May 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    One of the prime reason I find for all this mess is joblessness of some Delhi based BJP leaders. An idle mind is devil’s workshop. To fix this, we need a leader. A leaderless party, in a country like India, is a disaster. I’m surprised BJP survived so many years without a leader. Even now, they seem to be in no hurry. Nothing new for India. We didn’t wake up earlier also even when the enemy descended from Hindu-kush to all the way till Dilli then.

    But now the party is unraveling. They manged to loose 4 states in a span of few months (Jharkhand, HP, Uttarakhand and now Karnataka). Party is in power in merely 4 states on its own including tiny Goa covering merely 68 Loksabha seats. The party is in worse shape than what it was in early 90s. In 1992, the party was in power in 4 states including giant state of undivided UP and undivided MP along with Rajasthan and HP (covering 154 loksabha seats). All this is happening with BJP when the country is witnessing an unprecedented state on non-governance. It seems the grand old man of the BJP is determined to finish the party he started. Thank you to all for your presence. It was good while it lasted. Amen.

  16. doddacheddi
    May 16, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    own them when it benefits, disown them when it hurts and reown them when thing don’t work without them seems to be the strategy of RSS and it’s followers :)

  17. prabath
    May 16, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Interesting article, not familiar with all of the characters mentioned here. Thanks.

    Quick question though :
    “The unfortunate folks from these communities who went to prison in the pub and the Home Stay episodes are still rotting in prison”

    who are the unfortunate folks that you refer to here ? The ones who were in the pub/home stay, or the rowdies who beat them up?

  18. Jose
    May 16, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    What about the role of RSS leaders who were queuing in front of Reddy brothers for donations (millions)? The author looks like RSS-biased person, and selectively ignored the role of RSS appointed tainted BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s incompetency. Many are culprits in the BJP’s ruin in Karnataka. Now the question is who is the right person to re-organize and re-build the party in a years time? I hope Rajnath Singh is wise enough to take good decisions & help the party to re-grow.

  19. Gopi
    May 16, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    BSY is no saint…. Ashwini Kumar of Punjab Kesari has an apt desc for him: Lutiya Chor…
    He brought all this upon himself…
    Yes, Virus Ananth Kumar was a culprit but an opening via weak body n weakened immune system was provided by BSY himself.
    if he had kept his chadar clean, eyes open (and not become blind like Dhritarashtra), and mental faculties in balance, 100 AKs would not have been able to do any harm to him.

    And, Gadhinandan still was a sage and also great… ever AFTER that Menaka dance which resulted in giving birth to an illustrious grandson. I will take such dance any n every day….

  20. May 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Thought provoking article. But we also need to think on the following.
    1. Claiming Yeddyurappa to be the man who built BJP from scratch in Karnataka seems atrocious. He was one of them, but not the only one. AK Subbaiah, BB Shivappa, Dr. Dattatri, Dr. Acharya, etc. But yes, Yeddy is a mass leader!.
    2. Bringing in Yeddyurappa into BJP at this point of time would ensure that all the sycophants of Yeddy would start calling the shots in BJP. Is this required at this point of time? The electorate have ensured absolute defeat of some of them like BP Harish, Renukacharya, et al.
    3. I think the BJP should start working at the ward level. General Elections are a year away at the most. The work should start today. Identify ward level workers and ensure that they start canvasing for the Party today. More importantly, identify possible 3 candidates per constituency and ensure that they work together, irrespective of who contests finally. This is what is expected of the leadership at this point of time.

  21. Rama
    May 16, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    I believe the Congress have lifted the ban on cow slaughter in Karnataka.

  22. May 16, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    I think LKA is the only person in BJP who didn’t realize the ground reality. In his recent article he openly humiliates Yedurappa, making it hard for Yedurappa to come back to the mother party.

  23. OM
    May 16, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    this is quite an insider view…closely following BJP in karnataka…no doubt yedurappa could have done better with central team support.the whole incident could have been avoided..ebe when sadanand stepped in…things were in BJP’s favor.had they not started playing Gowda against Yedurappa…unfortunately corruption is the reality in Indian politics…:-(

  24. Surya Rajath
    May 16, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Yes, absolutely right…BJP ruined in Karnataka just because of Ananth’s cunningness, Sadanda Gowda’s selfishness…BSY was also a bit arrogant then..It’s the time to learn from their mistakes and to build the party from the scratch..We should win atleast 20 seats in general elections from Karnataka..

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