BENGALURU: For chief minister BS Yediyurappa, his one-year tenure in office has been a trial by fire, as he famously stated after completing 100 days. The BJP government is completing one year in office on Sunday.
Since he stormed back to power in controversial circumstances and took charge as the CM for the fourth time on July 26 last year, Yediyurappa has been facing a series of adversities. Though he began his stint on a fiery note, promising drastic changes in three months, the unprecedented floods that hit 25 of the 30 districts in August last year swamped his first three months in office. Another four months went by for bypolls and dissidence among BJP legislators over cabinet expansion. Since the last four months, he is busy battling Covid-19 pandemic.
Initially, the government had managed the crisis very well when the numbers were low but it soon lost the plot when the virus started spreading. However, BJP sources admit that ego clashes among senior ministers in charge of Covid management and government repeated U-turns and allegations of irregularities in procurement of medical equipment took away the due credit.
There is now a general sense among people that the government has not managed to save lives even when most of the other states were able to do it. The only silver lining was the state government’s timely announcement of Rs 1,610 relief package for unorganised sector workers, which was even hailed by opposition parties.
The pandemic in a way also came as a blessing in disguise for the Yediyurappa government to push some of the long pending key reforms in industrial and labour sectors to improve ease of doing business. About a dozen ordinances have been promulgated in the last two months to take up major reforms to attract investment. The repealing of 46-year-old law to allow non-agriculturists to buy farm land and changes to APMC Act to enable farmers to perform trade freely and sell their produce outside the mandis is being hailed as progressive and future looking. This despite opposition parties alleging that these legislations did not go through required expert scrutiny and detailed deliberation in both the Houses.
However, the state has been facing economic headwinds much before the coronavirus pandemic slowing down its growth and investments. The state finances are in doldrums after two successive farm loan waivers accounting for over Rs 25,000 crore since 2018 followed by flood and pandemic related relief packages of nearly Rs 5,000 crore.
As a result, Yediyurappa could not do much in terms of development projects. Experts said all key irrigation and infrastructure projects remain in a state of limbo now. It in fact forced him to slash the state’s 2020-2021 budget expenditure by about 30%. With limited options to explore new revenue sources, significant unpaid dues from the Centre and slashing of its share in the divisible pool under the 15th Finance Commission, things are expected to turn from bad to worse.
Politically, it has been a good year for Yediyurappa as he virtually decimated the opposition as his party won 12 out of 15 seats in the bypolls.
Yediyurappa’s major task will be in his second year, say observers, as he will to successfully combat the pandemic spread and bring the state and the economy back on track.
BJP govt to celebrate one year of office on Monday
A series of events have been planned to commemorate the BJP government’s one year of office in Karnataka on Monday. The events include the release of a booklet on achievements by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. Unlike in previous years, the booklets will have write-ups of 22 experts from different fields. The writers had been told that they are free to criticise the state government. Sirigere mutt pontiff Shivamurthy Shivacharya Swamy has written about online agriculture market, Bhalki mutt seer Basavaraj Pattadevaru ( Kalyana Karnataka), environmentalist AN Yellappa Reddy (environment), Gururaj Karajagi and Niranjan Aradhya (education), Dr CN Manjunath (handling of Covid-19) and two former bureaucrats — K Jairaj and Kotlinganagoud on administration and governance.
One crore trees would be planted and from July 29-31, pamphlets would be distributed to 50 lakh houses across the state. An online rally has been planned for August 1, which will be addressed by Yediyurappa, and BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel.
What Experts say?
Yediyurappa’s one year is a term sprinkled with salt and pepper rather than sugar. Since the day he took office he had hurdles to jump over of the Congress deserters followed by delay in his cabinet approval and his helplessness in getting supportive grants from the Centre for the flood victims. He seemed to be a failing chief minister with no party support or the central leadership. Attempts to destabilise him internally followed by Covid 19 he became a victim of time and an unappreciated leader. Today after one year except for his grassroots leadership and his community, Yediyurappa stands as Chief Minister who has promises to keep before he goes thus leaving him as a symbolic head of the state.
– Prof Harish Ramaswamy, political commentator
It has been one year involving political survival and crisis management. Having come to power by ‘manufacturing’ a majority, the CM had to use all his political skills to remain in power and satisfy diverse interests and groups within the party. This was quite a tight rope walk. Later with the pandemic, the attention shifted from a political Crisis to a health one. Here there was an element of uncertainty on who was in charge though the CM tended to depend on the bureaucracy and the health experts. Overall one sees an element of political fatigue in the leadership.
– Sandeep Shashtri, political analyst
Just as the 60 years of work done in just six years by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, similarly many important policy decisions were taken in one year which were pending for many years. This despite floods and Covid pandemic. Our government has also taken several policy decisions and efficiently handled challenges posed by coronavirus and floods.
– C N Ashwath Narayan / Deputy CM

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