Journalists are a lot like blotting paper. We absorb everything around us, but despite mopping up most leaks from the corridors of power, few in the fraternity spill every single bean. But in the current climate of intrigue and suspicion, the rumour mills are cranking 'em out. There's talk of loyalists and camp followers who sell themselves to the highest bidder; in this case, cash is passé, the cabinet berth is the ultimate prize — the ATM of cash, no secret code needed. Stories of dark goings-on behind the scenes, files being signed as one chief minister segues into another; why this man or this woman made it back into the cabinet; why all, without exception kept their original portfolios; why three berths are being kept open for the scam-tainted Reddys; why the former chief minister is not on the up and up as everyone thinks but could be on skid row; and who will actually call the shots in a party where every leader thinks he should be head honcho. Rash speculation? Surely, some of it is true. The task before the new chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, a little over ten days into the job, therefore, is not going to be easy. He has too many things to fix, too little time to do it in. The state unit of the BJP is much like a cart, with one wheel off, careening out of control, being pulled in five different directions by ambitious politicians who have put their own selfish goals over that of the party and the state. For Mr Gowda to play 'Parthasarthy' to this conflicted BJP chariot is going to be a very tough call. Not with the outwardly affable Jagadish Shettar, the man from Hubli, watching and waiting for DVS to make his first wrong move. "I can wait, I'm a patient man," he has reportedly said. Chief ministerial ambition burning… The story about our new chief minister is even more interesting. DVS watchers say that not so long ago, he was BSY-baiter Mr Ananth Kumar's man and owes his Udupi-Chikmagalur seat to the Bengaluru South MP, after he was eased out as state party chief. Makes one wonder how DVS made it to BSY's shortlist for chief minister and what he had to do to get there. Did his friend Shobha Karandlaje play a role?Ananth Kumar, it's been said, has felt hard done by, left out of the BJP high command's grand plans for the state, even though he — much like BSY — had played a pivotal role in the saffron takeover of the state. Now the question is, are Shettar, Kumar and DVS ranged against BSY? Or has DVS moved to the BSY camp? Where does this leave Shobha? And yes, one has not yet factored in the state party chief, K.S. Eshwarappa, at one point in time, a chief ministerial hopeful. The party stalwart, no fan of the former chief minister, is committed to containing the fallout from the damaging court cases that implicate the former chief minister as much as the Reddys. His star is clearly on the ascendant. The second cabinet induction had Mr Eshwarappa bring in every man who pulled BSY's government down; Barring actor turned politician C.P.Yogeshwar, these men are no friends of BSY. It's a tough balancing act for DVS, who must keep the fiction alive that they are all united, when having little choice but to accede to a diktat by a very miffed L.K. Advani that he cannot lift a finger to help BSY, that he must let the law take its course. And then there is the curious case of the Reddy brothers, who despite their dubious record for turning their backyard Bellary into a byword for illegal mining, continue to exercise a hold over the BJP. Going by the spectacle that unfolded in Bellary on Friday, where the top brass of the BJP showed up for the puja fest alongside the virtual who's who of the BJP in the state, the Reddys' star is not on the wane. At least, not yet. If it was was Sushma 'Thayee' Swaraj before, it's Nitin Gadkari today, and who knows, a Shobha Karandlaje tomorrow. Ashoka Road's justification for its backing of the mine owners is that they must ensure Bellary does not slip out of its grasp. Not after the Reddys cleverly ] cashed in on the seething undercurrent against the Congress when its star Sonia Gandhi chose to give up the seat she had won. And Sreeramulu's community, the Nayakas, not restricted to Bellary either, draws in the neighbouring districts. So, the BJP, treading water in treacherous seas. All the more important then, for DVS to come clean. Not just on his assets, but also on where he stands. He must clear the lingering disquiet that nothing's really changed and reassure us — can he, will he — that through the spectacle of the first cabinet induction and the second, and a possible third, his effect on the party will have strengthened. Tell us that the stories of last minute denotifications, and the rush to build buildings have all been set aside. Tell us, that he will apply that rule to every minister he has brought into the cabinet. Tell us, that once he has his cabinet in place, it's not so much about pulling the BJP's irons out of the fire, as much as Karnataka's… That along with a fresh new face and the hope that the change holds out for better governance, he will bring in people who can be trusted not to skim the cream. DVS' message cannot be the clichéd "I am committed to development works" while Bengaluru goes through its power outages and its roads and infrastructure is left to crumble. Those sitting on top of the power pyramid must be held to account. Or else, we might as well say what everyone is saying — Karnataka has a new chief minister but nothing's really changed, has it?