Bangalore: 2011 turned out to be a year of "trial" and "turbulence" for leaders of all parties in Karnataka as scams tumbled out of their cupboards and a Chief Minister had to be ousted from office on corruption charges, a first of its kind in the annals of the state. (Agencies)
The series of corruption charges that engulfed leaders of ruling as well as Opposition parties not only kept Karnataka in the headlines, but also led to the state earning the tag of one of the "most" corrupt ones.
The state also witnessed confrontation between the BJP government and Governor H R Bhardwaj on a host of issues including on the issue of dismissal of the saffron party government, appointment of a Lokayukta and an aborted "oath-taking" challenge between Yeddyurappa and JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy.
The political clan almost set up a race to march to courts and some of them including former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa landed behind bars for a brief spell, which dented their own image and also that of the political party they belonged to.
The 'jail yatra' that began from former minister Katta Subramanaya Naidu, his corporator son Jagadish on charges of land scam, soon dragged Yeddyurappa, former ministers Gali Janardhana Reddy and S N Krishnaiah Setty, causing a severe embarrassment to the BJP in its fight against corruption at the national level.
More trouble was in store for BJP, which was already feeling the heat after the arrest of some of its leaders, when private complaints alleging land scams hit the state's Minister for Home R Ashoka, Housing Minister V Somanna, Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani, apart from ruling MLAs like S Muniraju and S R Vishwanath.
The Opposition Congress and the JDS which had raised a hue and cry over corruption by BJP leaders, were themselves caught in the same web when private complaints were filed against External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, N Dharam Singh of Congress, H D Kumaraswamy of JDS and his brother H D Balakrishne Gowda.
The year saw an apparently bruised BJP axing a defiant Yeddyurappa and replacing him by its Udupi-Chikmagalur MP D V Sadananda Gowda.
Even as political leaders stood in the witness box facing scams, a celebrity from the Kannada tinsel world gained notoriety for wife beating and had to go behind bars.
Popular Kannada star Darshan was arrested on a complaint by his wife that she was tortured. Two former judges were also in the news.
While retired Supreme Court Judge Shivaraj Patil had to quit the office of Lokayukta, a month-and-a-half after assuming office in the face of allegations of securing allotment of a residential site in his wife's name in violation of rules, former chief justice of Kerala High Court S R Bannurmath, could not make it as the Governor rejected his name after he too faced allegations of getting a site allotted in violation of rules.
The continued tiff between the government and the Governor resurfaced when Bhardwaj abandoned his address to the joint session of the legislature on January 6.
The tension escalated when Bhardwaj accorded sanction to prosecute Yeddyurappa on January 21, an exercise which culminated in filing of five private complaints against the Chief Minister by Sirajin Basha and K N Balraj.
The final report of the Lokayukta into the illegal mining submitted on July 27 by Santosh Hegde set off a political storm in the state as it severely indicted Yeddyurappa. The saffron brigade in Delhi acted swiftly and asked him to quit office.
Yeddyurappa, the lingayat community strongman and also one of the architects of installing the first BJP government in the south, shed his initial defiance and bowed to the orders of his party high command on July 31, paving way for change of guard in the state, but not before declaring that he would return to the lost throne within six months.
It was the worst year in their political careers for three Bellary ministers including Reddy brothers, who had been hitherto dictating the BJP, the Yeddyurappa government and also controlled entire mining operations in the state.
The CBI probe into illegal mining in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, sucked Janardhana Reddy, who was arrested on September 5 along with his brother-in-law B V Srinivasa Reddy and sent to a judicial custody in Hyderabad.
The saffron party which distanced from Reddy was in for a severe shock, when a Lokayukta court ordered for the arrest of Yeddyurappa and Krishnaiah Setty on October 15. Yeddyurappa walked to freedom after spending 25 days in jail when the high court granted him bail.
A "oath taking challenge" hurled by Yeddyurappa at his political bete-noire Kumaraswamy provided thriller moments to people of the state, but they were disappointed when the event was dropped.
Yeddyurappa, who has been fuming at the JDS leader for battering him with charges of corruption, dared Kumaraswamy to "swear" before lord Manjunatha at the temple town of Dharamasthala on his allegations and set July 27 as date for it.
Kumaraswamy readily accepted and landed at the temple on the fixed date and time. But Yeddyurappa chose to abandon the "oath taking". People of the state had witness an ignominious incident of a minister being attacked by a slipper in Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power.
It was Somanna, who faced the attack from one of his own partyman and became the first minister to get such a treatment in the state's history.
Somanna along with his wife has been facing a private complaint which accused him of securing denotification of a piece of land for his educational institution from Yeddyurappa.
It was a matter of great relief for Kumaraswamy and his MLA wife Anita, when the high court squashed cases filed against them before a Lokayukta court.
However, the joy of escaping court trial was short lived for Kumaraswamy, as his elder brother H D Balakrishna Gowda, a retired bureaucrat, faced allegations of amassing wealth illegally.
The BJP suffered another jolt politically from Bellary mining barons, when B Sreeramulu quit his assembly membership and later from the party and successfully contested as an Independent from Bellary Rural seat.
Sreeramulu retained his seat challenging the might of the BJP and ending its victory run in the hitherto held bypolls.
The state also saw another attempt by the governor to recommended for dismissal of the BJP government during May after the Supreme Court restored the assembly membership of 16 disqualified MLAs including 11 from the saffron party, but the UPA government rejected it.
The state was once again under the grip of political instability in the wake of innumerable scams faced by the BJP leaders and cast its shadow on the stability of its government.
Yeddyurappa is out on bail and yet to decide on his political future. Sreeramulu is out of the BJP, gearing to strike with new political party. The Congress is trying for revival of fortune and the JDS looking for new partners to fight against the Congress and the BJP.
In midst of these political turmoil, the state came under the grip of severe drought with two-thirds of the area facing scarcity conditions.
Despite the drought, the BJP government organised Global Agri Investors Meet and manage to strike Rs one lakh crore worth of investment proposals on December 1 and 2.
Bangalore: 2011 turned out to be a year of "trial" and "turbulence" for leaders of all parties in Karnataka as scams tumbled out of their cupboards and a Chief Minister had to be ousted from office on corruption charges, a first of its kind in the annals of the state.