When it comes to electoral mathematics, there is no beating B.S. Yeddyurappa. It was to this unique talent that the Bharatiya Janata Party owed its first government in south India and its survival in the face of the most horrendous of dissensions. Mr Yeddyurappa’s Operation Kamala — that unique feat of engineering defections in the opponent parties to get the right numbers to survive a confidence vote — is now a much-aspired for political model. Mr Yeddyurappa also proved his calculations right —twice — when he predicted that his Karnataka Janata Party, formed after he was thrown out of the BJP, would reduce the latter to an ‘also-ran’ in the state. With the BJP now desperate to get its electoral calculations right on the national stage, it could not but have honoured such a poll wizard, especially one who has shown where his sympathies lie. As usual, Mr Yeddyurappa has got his maths right by backing the prime ministerial ambitions of Narendra Modi. It is courtesy Mr Modi, and thereby the party top brass now committed to seeing him in the prime ministerial chair, that the Karnataka party unit is believed to have got over its hard feelings for Mr Yeddyurappa. The stage now seems set for Mr Yeddyurappa to change the political fortunes of the party in the state and, thereby, prove his indispensability to the party.
It is entirely possible that the BJP has got the maths right with its merger with the KJP. Both the KJP and the BSR Congress have split the BJP vote, making the Congress a default winner. Although BJP ministers were severally hauled up by the lokayukta in Karnataka for indulging in illegal mining and underhand real estate deals, it was the Janata Dal (Secular) and not the Congress that had taken the lead in exposing the party. The Congress in Karnataka has shown an amazing lack of energy in seizing back, or retaining, the political mantle in the state. Perhaps the ennui is a reflection of the party’s lack of direction at the national level, just as the BJP’s actions in Karnataka are of its predatory instincts at the national level. Now that the party has been reduced to a side-player in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the BJP depends on Mr Yeddyurappa to shore up Mr Modi’s candidacy to the prime ministerial seat. With the Congress crippled by corruption allegations at the Centre, there is every chance that Mr Yeddyurappa might be able to deliver irrespective of the corruption charges against him.