Bengaluru: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will complete one year in office on July 28. Though, Bommai started his innings successfully generating high expectations in the party leadership that it would find a mass leader in him after old war horse B S Yediyurappa, but according to party leaders, after completion of one year much needs to be accomplished in this regard.
Bommai successfully managed the show until now by balancing between former CM Yediyurappa as well as the party and RSS leadership. Though he managed to convince the leaders to fight the upcoming assembly elections under his leadership, he will face the litmus test of bringing back the ruling BJP to power in the state.
The Congress has already proclaimed that it will capture power in the state and its leaders are vying with each other in announcing their candidature for the CM’s post. The Opposition is confident of coming to power as no ruling party has managed to retain power since 1985 in Karnataka. Bommai is confident of creating history by emerging victorious this time riding high on the communal and development agenda.
The one year term of Bommai has been marked by tumultuous developments and social unrest. The hijab row started after students were denied entry into classes wearing a hijab. The crisis and related developments made international news.
The hijab crisis was followed by calls from Hindu organisations to boycott Muslim traders, artisans, businessmen in the state. Though the development helped the BJP to polarize Hindu voters, concerns were raised by industrial honchos. Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw warned the BJP government that a divisive communal agenda in the state would affect the global leadership of India in the IT and BT sectors.
Bommai’s ambitious announcement of clearance of files within a time frame which raised expectations still remains a dream. Party insiders complain that most of the files are awaiting clearance at the CM’s office. However, Bommai successfully implemented a scholarship programme to benefit children from agricultural families.
The central government’s indecisiveness regarding the Mekedatu project to provide drinking water for Bengaluru and its surrounding areas and uncertainty over utilization of the state’s share of the Mahadayi river waters have proved to be hurdles in boosting the leadership of Bommai in the state.
The BJP government is facing allegations of involvement in the Bitcoin and PSI recruitment scandals. The flak from the judiciary over corruption has dented the image of the BJP in the state. The textbook revision exercise antagonized various sections of the society and the government had to roll back its decision.
Bommai still has to make peace with former chief minister Jagadish Shettar who declined a cabinet portfolio saying he can’t work under a junior. Hindu organisations are challenging the ruling BJP that it has failed to protect the interests of Hindu activists.
Yediyurappa who is focused on getting his son a good position in the party, though saying that the BJP would come back to power, is not saying a word on Bommai becoming the CM again. Party insiders say that Bommai will have to fight the insiders as well as face stiff competition from the Congress.