Bangalore: Tuesday marks two months since Basavaraj Bommai was sworn in as Chief Minister of Karnataka.
During his 60 days in power, Bommai did everything he could to shake off his perceived loyalist image of former chief minister BS Yediyurappa, sought to build bridges between the government and the party but, above all, got closer to the Blood.
As the former leader of the Janata Party, the harshest criticism against Bommai within the BJP was that he did not have his roots in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
As if to counterbalance these criticisms, Bommai passionately defended the RSS, both inside and outside the National Assembly.
The last example came on Sunday, when Bommai would have told the media that the National Education Policy (NEP) would “speak about the real history of India and teach children about nationalism.”
Belagavi’s statement came just days after he replied to Congress, on the floor of the Karnataka Assembly, that he would be “proud” if the NEP were conceived by the RSS.
“There is nothing wrong if the national education policy is an RSS program,” Bommai noted after opposition leader Siddaramaiah called the NEP “Nagpur’s education policy”. The chief minister went on to say that “the nation, nationalism and the RSS are the same”. “RSS means nationalism,” he said.
A week earlier, on September 21, Bommai again defended the RSS when the assembly passed the Chanakya University Bill, 2021, which allows the institution to be built, supported by the Education Center. and social studies (CESS).
Congress considered the university to be “supported by RSS” as most of the CESS members are from the organization, and interrogates the government’s motives behind allocating land worth Rs 175 crore for only Rs 50 crore at the university.
A provocative Bommai noted there was nothing wrong with authorizing land for educational institutions, adding that his government was prepared to grant permits to “10 of these universities”.
Bommai’s decision to introduce a invoice last week to protect illegal religious structures following backlash his government received over a temple demolition in Nanjangud also did not go unnoticed by the Sangh or the party.
“He put lawmakers in confidence with his strong case for the party, the Sangh and the government bills. His defense of the NEP on the floor of the House was very impressive ”, Dr Bharat Shetty, MP for BJP and RSS karyakarta, ThePrint said.
Shetty noted that Bommai’s speech at the party’s executive committee meeting earlier in September was well received by all. “He was honest and looked more like a statesman than a politician,” Shetty said.
Other BJP leaders rooted in the Sangh also hold similar views on the chief minister’s tenure so far.
“There was disappointment among loyal party and Sangh workers when Bommai was chosen as chief minister because he is not ideologically rooted,” a senior official on the BJP’s national executive told The Print right after Bommai was sworn in as CM.
Now cabinet minister Bommai, the position of the top leader has softened. “There is coordination between the party and the government. He is attentive to concerns and patient unlike his predecessor, ”said the minister, comparing Bommai’s leadership style to that of Yediyurappa.
Read also : With commentary “Modi alone cannot win state polls,” Yediyurappa warns BJP not to rule him out yet
Problems on the horizon
While Bommai seems to have managed to score brownie points at the Sangh with his recent statements and decisions, not everything is good.
“For a newly elected government, the honeymoon period is six months, but for a mid-term government like Bommai’s it is only three months, ”a national BJP secretary general told ThePrint. .
As Bommai’s “honeymoon period” comes to an end, the issues that haunted Yediyurappa are slowly but surely making a comeback.
During the assembly session last week, BJP lawmakers raised concerns about lack of funds – a complaint they raised during Yediyurappa’s tenure. The lack of funds for development work has been at the heart of lawmakers’ irritation with the former chief minister. So far, Bommai has requested a month to release funds.
During the same session, BJP Basanagouda MP Patil Yatnal raised the issue of including the Panchamasali Lingayats – an influential and numerically superior subsection of the Lingayat community – in category 2A of the reservation quota of the State. Another member of the BJP, Arvind Bellad, also joined us, much to the embarrassment of the government.
In February of this year, Panchamasali Lingayats organized mass agitation across the state, denting the image of then-Chief Minister Yediyurappa as a strongman of Lingayat. As the case returned, Bommai, like Yediyurappa, asked community leaders to wait for the report from the Underprivileged Class Commission on the matter.
Echoing senior BJP leaders, political analysts also believe Bommai’s honeymoon period is ending and he needs to prepare for other challenges.
“Until now, it was a honeymoon period and people were calm. But soon they will be waiting for more action and results on the ground. Since the BJP legislative party is diverse in Karnataka, there will be a lot of pressure on Bommai to keep all segments of the party happy. He will have to assert himself quietly. Dr Sandeep Shastri, policy analyst and national coordinator of the Lokniti networkold The Print.
Shastri, however, stressed that Bommai has the advantage of high command support.
“Its biggest advantage is the support it receives from the central party leadership,” the analyst said. “The central leadership did not overload it with rival power centers either. He must use it effectively. If the assertion is not demonstrated, then people will view it as a weakness. ”
While his lack of assertiveness during the formation of his cabinet and his heavy reliance on central leadership drew Bommai’s attention against the opposition, Union Home Minister Amit Shah approval of his leadership seems to have changed a lot.
“The last two months have strengthened confidence in the cabinet. Bommai speaks openly to everyone. We have cabinet meetings every week. Ministers and legislators are able to communicate better. Things are better than before, ”KS Eshwarappa, Minister of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) told ThePrint.
Just three weeks ago, Eshwarappa was upset that the party would go to the polls under Bommai’s leadership.
“The party’s decision to choose Bommai was a surprise, and not a pleasant one, even for the Sanghs. After the release of BS Yediyurappa, the Sangh hoped to have one of their own, ”said a senior party official close to Yediyurappa.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)
Read also : Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar show Congress how to bury differences and face BJP
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