Akram Mohammed for Deccan Herald seems to think that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first reshuffle and expansion of the ministry is a clever “calculus aimed at the poll arithmetic.” I would agree with my good friend A Narayana of Azim Premji University that this rejig is “unlikely to have any repercussions” in Karnataka.
Take the case of Shobha Karandlaje. She comes in to replace Sadananda Gowda. A Vokkaliga arithmetic here apparently. While it might not be wrong, there is more to this than a simple caste equation. Ms. Karandlaje is considered very close to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. So is her elevation a likely sop for the Chief Minister to step down? Seems unlikely but still this maybe an attempt to ease out Yediyurappa. I’d reckon he would be under severe personal pressure to ensure the political careers of his sons are protected, much more than a personal ally like minister Karandlaje.
Things might have changed in the perception of people as far such distinctions are concerned, but clearly a Vokkaliga from Old Mysore would be necessary to galvanise force for the party in the old Mysore region. A Karandlaje hasn’t been able to do it in all these years. She is unlikely to be able to do it now.
Urban Bangalore, or shall we say, parts of the city, would most likely be elated that Rajeev Chandrasekhar made it. But I am not sure how closely the Jayanagar, Basavanagudi and Chamrajpet supporters of the saffron party identify with a industrialist-Rajya Sabha member from the city. Thus what would be the electoral dividend that would accrue?
A Narayanaswamy, a Madiga, would surely help the party, however marginally. And Bhagwanth Khuba, a Lingayat, would help the community’s love affair with the saffron party continue.
Thus there does not seem to be any major “calculus” problem being resolved. It is that the chairs on the deck have been rearranged. The ship still would heavily rely on the stewardship of the captain and the calculations that will follow from there.