Bangalore, June 24: Things could not have got more dismal for the BJP government in the state. Minister after minister, including a chief minister himself, have been swept aside by allegations of land scams and other irregularities.
But the latest casualty has hit the BJP where it hurts the most. For S Suresh Kumar, who quit on Saturday after allegations surfaced that he had obtained a BDA site by hiding facts, is not only BJP's leader of the lower house but also a "mascot of transparency" that the party often paraded to offset the burden of taints it carried.
Suresh Kumar was made leader of the assembly as chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda is a member of the Upper House. A major reason why Gowda has vehemently ruled out any probe into Suresh Kumar's site scandal is the fact that the Rajajinagar MLA had filled the vacuum created first by the indisposition and latter the demise of the party veteran V S Acharya. He doubled as a crisis manager whose "clean image" appealed to not only all the factions of the party but also the opposition whenever the BJP government has been in trouble.
As law and parliamentary affairs minister, Suresh Kumar doubled as the party's troubleshooter whenever the government was in distress: he was instrumental in drafting speaker KG Bopaiah's ruling on disqualifying 16 dissident MLAs during the trust vote taken by BS Yeddyurappa in October 2010.
Kumar has had his share of detractors. Squeamish about his image, he is said to be indecisive when it comes to clearing files. His aloofness and refusal to play political godfather to party members earned him their ire many a time. "He is a member of the party's election committee. But he never participates in the panel's activities,'' sources alleged.
With Yeddyurappa readying ammunition to take his battle against Gowda to its logical conclusion, the absence of a saner voice like Suresh Kumar's is certain to be felt by the ruling party.
A party insider said that Suresh Kumar retracting his resignation cannot be ruled out. "He cannot take a unilateral decision to quit as he was inducted in the cabinet in consultation with the party leaders. Given the fact that he is quintessential BJP man, he is bound by the party diktat," the source explained.