Why Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa is cosying up to Gowda family

BENGALURU: The warming ties between long-time rivals BS Yediyurappa and the Gowdas of JD(S) have surprised many, fuelling speculation about a possible realignment in Karnataka politics. One theory suggests BJP and JD(S) are seriously considering a tie-up. Another claims Yediyurappa is repairing his equation with HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy to send a subtle…

Why Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa is cosying up to Gowda family

BENGALURU: The warming ties between long-time rivals BS Yediyurappa and the Gowdas of JD(S) have surprised many, fuelling speculation about a possible realignment in Karnataka politics.

One theory suggests BJP and JD(S) are seriously considering a tie-up. Another claims Yediyurappa is repairing his equation with HD Deve Gowda and

HD Kumaraswamy

to send a subtle message to the central BJP leadership that he’s still a strong force and can form independent alliances. Such signalling, political observers believe, has become necessary for the chief minister because BJP is reportedly working on a succession plan.

Regardless of the reason, it’s evident Yediyurappa and the Gowdas are on their friendliest terms in years. In the past one month, Yediyurappa and Kumaraswamy, who headed the Congress-JD(S)

government

before BJP bound rebels reduced its strength last year, have been seen walking together and exchanging banter. Their aides insist the conversations are about development works.

Yediyurappa has released generous funds for

Channapatna

, which Kumaraswamy represents, and his government recently provided a Rs 60-lakh car to Gowda following his election to the Rajya Sabha. The former prime minister, not known to demand expensive rides, reportedly requested for a comfortable vehicle, citing his age and health. Gowda’s request was promptly fulfilled, while opposition leader Siddaramaiah had to wait nearly a year for an SUV worth around Rs 30 lakh.

During the

recent assembly session

, Kumaraswamy reciprocated by not joining Congress in attacking the Yediyurappa government. He supported the government on some aspects of the land reforms and APMC amendment bills.

Kumaraswamy, who consistently raised corruption allegations during Yediyurappa’s previous stint as the chief minister, didn’t utter a word on recent claims of interference in government affairs by Yediyurappa’s son, BY Vijayendra.

On his part, Yediyurappa has refused to link JD(S) to the ongoing protests by farmers, blaming only Congress. “I don’t want to speak anything against JD(S),’ he said on Monday. These developments have coincided with reports that the BJP high command wants to replace Yediyurappa and has already limited his authority of deciding matters like cabinet reshuffle. His age — the Lingayat strongman is 77 — and allegations of meddling by his family have prompted the party to consider a revamp, the reports claim.

“There is no doubt Yediyurappa is trying to send a message to the high command that he will not shy from a showdown if he doesn’t get a good exit deal. If things reach that level, he wants JD(S) to be with him,” a BJP insider said. “The last time he was asked to step down, following the

Lokayukta

row, he successfully revolted against the high command.”

But a senior BJP functionary said things would not reach to a level where Yediyurappa would have to demonstrate his strength. “The party knows how popular he is and what will be the implications of ill-treating him,” he said.

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