As B S Yediyurappa took oath in Bengaluru as Karnataka’s next Chief Minister, BJP working president J P Nadda said in the national capital that party would provide a stable government and rejected Congress’s allegations that the BJP had engineered defections to pull down its government in alliance with JD(S).
The coalition government, Nadda asserted, “fell under its own weight due to internal issues”.
“The BJP is synonymous with stability. So wherever you go, you bring stability,” Nadda said when The Indian Express asked him whether the party could ensure stability.
After the H D Kumaraswamy government fell, failing to prove majority on the floor of the Assembly following rebellion by 16 MLAs, BJP leaders had said that the party would form the government in Bengaluru only after ensuring it would last.
BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao also said there is no doubt in the party that the state government would last its term. “We have a 100-per cent stable government. We have a more-than stable government now,” Rao told The Indian Express.
The current term of the assembly, elected in May 2018, ends in 2023.
Nadda, who addressed the media for the first time after taking over as the BJP’s working president, justified the party’s move to allow 76-year-old Yediyurappa to take oath. He indicated that there could be exemptions in the BJP’s unwritten rule that party leaders over 75 would not hold constitutional posts.
“It depends,” he said when asked about the party’s unofficial age bar. “First of all he is a leader – he was elected as the leader of the legislature party. Accordingly, he is taking oath. It is a continuous process and the party takes note of ongoing developments from time to time.”
Nadda reiterated, “He is the leader, and as leader he is taking the oath.”
Asked whether the party would be flexible on the age issue, Nadda said: “The party will take decisions. There is nothing like flexibility. I am interested to know one thing —- it was alright (when) he was Leader of Opposition, (but) on the day he takes oath the question about his age emerges. It does not work like that. He is the leader and in continuity, he takes oath as Chief Minister.”
The BJP had introduced the unofficial cutoff of 75 years for ministers in party-run governments as well as for its candidates in the recent Lok Sabha election, ostensibly to ease out many veterans, such as Kalraj Mishra, Najma Heptullah and Sumitra Mahajan, among others.
The party also denied tickets to both L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, ostensibly citing their age.
Asked whether the BJP would have anything to do with the rebel Congress, JD(S) MLAs, whose continuity in the Assembly is hanging as the Speaker’s decision on their disqualification is pending, Nadda said: “We have not had any discussions with them. The Karnataka government fell under its own weight due to internal issues.”
Asked whether the BJP would try to get in touch with these MLAs future, Nadda said: “That will be the matter of strategy, depending on what they look out (for) and what they decide, etc. The (party’s) local unit will decide on the basis of that.”
50 days of Modi govt
Nadda, who convened the press conference to highlight the Narendra Modi government’s 50 days in office in its second term, presented a report card of the government. He claimed that the first 50 days of the government have been exemplary and several steps have been taken to improve the lives of people. “Jal se chaand tak (from water to moon),” Nadda said, referring to the government’s initiative on water conservation and the launch of Chandrayaan 2.
Nadda said while it was a precedent to present a report card on completion of 100 days, “now we have started it at the halfway mark, which needed political will”.
Citing various decisions of the Modi government such as tap water to every household by 2024 and further expansion of rural roads network under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Nadda said many steps have been taken, which have touched the lives of millions.