For the last 100 days, Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa has been pretty much the only face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in the state. While this can be seen as a measure of Yediyurappa’s sincerity since he took office for the fourth time — and possibly his last, the same cannot be said of those he leads, which includes an almost non-existent cabinet and a government, yet to find its footing in spite of all its perceived and actual advantages.
Political analysts say that Yediyurappa's minority government would have been judged more favourably, if it would have put half the efforts, it took to come to power in the state.
“It spent time and planned the downfall of H.D. Kumaraswamy government but did not do the same for governance beyond that," Harish Ramaswamy, political analyst and faculty at Karnatak University, Dharwad said.
Since Yediyurappa took office on 26 July after weeks and months of political uncertainty around the Kumaraswamy-led Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S), a different kind of uncertainty continues to loom over the BJP ruled minority government, that some analysts say has held back the 76 year old from doing more.
In an interview to Mint on Saturday, Yediyurappa dismissed the reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah want to replace him. “I will complete the remaining three and half years term," he said, though it lacked the fervour that could be seen during the peak of his powers in his first stint in 2008.
Opposition led by Siddaramaiah of Congress and JD(S) led by Kumaraswamy and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda are trying to corner his government over the alleged mishandling of relief operations following a worst flood in the sate over a century. The Opposition is also targeting his government over the inadequate assistance given by the Centre after the resent floods.
Out of the 17 member Cabinet, barely two or three have created a perception of doing any work, analysts said.
“Even the optics is missing," Ramaswamy quips.
Embroiled in controversies like NRC (National Register of Citizens), inadequate flood relief, claims of involvement in engineering the resignation drama, his son B.Y. Vijayendra’s growing involvement in the functioning of the government and, the latest, removing Tipu Sultan’s references from text books, the Yediyurappa government is yet to take any concrete decisions related to policy matters or is yet to announce any schemes other than the additional ₹4,000 support to farmers.
“They have been surprisingly ineffective," Narendar Pani, political analyst and faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) said.
“Given the pressure to win the bypolls, expected some decisions to take control of the narrative," he added.
The Opposition has been unable to cash in on the problems within the government and in the state BJP as it remains tangled with its own that leaves the state with the same uncertainty since 2018 assembly elections in which the electorate did not give any party a decisive mandate.
Though Yediyurappa wants to leave behind a legacy, the first hundred days may not be the way he would like to be remembered.