Sadananda Gowda out, but far from down
By Anil Gejji - BANGALORE
Published: 22nd Jul 2012 12:41:31 PM
Lady Luck seems to be still smiling on former chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda. Contrary to what many had thought, Gowda is fast emerging as an alternate power centre in the state BJP after he demitted the CM’s office a fortnight ago. With around 10 MLAs led by Municipal Administration Minister Balachandra Jarakiholi and a few legislators of Yeddyurappa camp who had switched sides after failing to get Cabinet berths supporting him, Gowda is now busy in backdoor strategy meetings to consolidate his new-found stature as a leader to reckon with in the state BJP.
The day when the extended budget session began on Thursday, Gowda was seen inviting ministers and MLAs of his choice to the dinner at his residence with a goal to take advantage of the on going dissidence in the party, while Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and others were scratching their heads to quell it.
Gowda’s emergence as a leader is as surprising a development as his elevation to the chief minister’s post 11-months-ago. Pushed to the top-slot as a Yeddyurappa follower and a political light-weight, Gowda was a leader by himself when he stepped down. Interestingly, former chief minister Yeddyurappa had a key role in this transformation. Faced with a stiff opposition from his one time mentor -turned- tormentor Yeddyurappa, Gowda during his tenure befriended with all the detractors of Yeddyurappa within and outside the BJP and used them effectively to diffuse the demand for his ouster. The Jarakiholi group particularly stood by Gowda as rock solid.
But when the party high command finally yielded to the pressure tactics of Yeddyurappa and also to the electoral compulsions, by making Shettar the chief minister, Gowda had to give up, but not without giving a fight. Gowda played the caste card very wisely by making Vokkaligas take to the streets opposing his removal.
His clean image and scam-free administration have also helped him gain sympathy. BJP national president Nitin Gadkari and BJP senior leader L K Advani had all praise for him when he was told to resign. In fact, both the leaders have reportedly assured him a greater responsibility in the party.
On the day when the BJP chose Shettar as its legislative party leader, the party national leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh had to literally persuade Gowda to come to the meeting. Backed by around 50 MLAs, Gowda attended the meeting only after getting an assurance of an equal share in the government and the party to his group. Another major demand of them was to make Gowda the state BJP chief.
Now that he has emerged as a leader, though of a section, Gowda would definitely want to look to build on it and play a bigger role in the state BJP during Assembly elections due next year.