Karnataka Assembly Election A Lesson for People
The just concluded Karnataa Assembly Election was considered a quarter-final before the finale, which is going to be held in April-May 2019, the Semi-finals being the elections to the assemblies of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. The interest and anxiety it created was that, it was a Southern State and also a Congress ruled state, and the whole country wanted to know if the downward slide of Congress would continue and BJP would continue its winning spree.
Ever since BJP had won the 2014 Parliament Elections due to an electrifying campaign led by its Prime Ministerial candidate NarendhraModi, the party has been on a winning spree conquering almost all the states except Punjab.Its favourite electoral theme of “Congress Mukt Bharat” seemed to have gone down well with the electorate too, as evidenced by the successive assembly elections results. No wonder Karnataka election created so much of interest and anticipation!
The Party’s massive win in Communist dominated Tripura sent shockwaves not only to Communists, but also to Congress and other regional parties. The assertion of BJP’s Nationalistic Politics gaining a huge momentum caused a lot of heartburn to other parties. As a consequence, they started talking about forming a grand alliance against BJP in 2019. However, the Communists, having the huge decline of Congress in mind, expressed their option of having a Non-BJP and Non-Congress Third Front.
They tested the waters in UP by-polls, with Mayavati and AkileshYadav coming together and forming an alliance against BJP. They were able to win the by-polls forcing BJP to contemplate their loss.
Unfolding of Events in Karnataka
While Congress faced anti-incumbency, BJP approached the election with confidence and JD(S) contested knowing pretty well it would attain only the third position. Even after the UP by-poll experiment, Congress preferred to go alone, despite facing anti-incumbency. It was also due to the fact that the party’s Karnataka face Siddaramaia, was an adversary of JD(S) and HD Kumarasamy was levelling too many charges against Congress government throughout the last five years.
Even during the election campaign, HD Kumarasamy made scathing attacks on Siddaramaia and Congress and thumped his chest saying that he would defeat the Congress and would never have an alliance with either Congress or BJP.
The Congress for its part and particularly Rahul Gandhi termed JD(S) as the B-Team of BJP. But Kumarasamy accused Siddaramaia of having a tacit understanding with BJP.
It is a known fact that Siddaramaia quit JD(S) under protest making charges of Nepotism against Deva Gowda, as he was giving too much of importance to his son Kumarasamy. Just four months before the elections, Kumarasamy had accused Siddarmaia of involvement in Rs.5000 crore mining scam.
During the course of the campaign, various agencies and media outlets came out with opinion polls saying that the election would result in a hung assembly. Almost all the opinion polls barring one or two predicted a hung assembly. In spite of that, Congress and JD (S) never thought of trying the UP experiment in Karnataka. While JD (S) acted stupid, Congress showed arrogance and both the parties didn’t attempt to form a pre-poll alliance in the name of so-called secularism.
On the other hand, the opinion polls motivated the BJP to work harder and the tide seemed to favour it, with the advent of Prime Minister Modi on the campaigning arena. Party President Amit Shah and UP CM Yogi Adityanath also joined the campaign trail. All the three were drawing huge crowds and Yeddyurappa on his own was making huge inroads. Prime Minister Modi was specifically strong against Congress and its divisive appeasement politics.
The supposed star campaigner of Congress Rahul Gandhi was listless and could not withstand the onslaught by the four BJP stalwarts. Comparatively, Siddarmaia was better and more forthcoming, trying to compensate for Rahul Gandhi.
Apart from the normal anti-incumbency, Congress had to face the ire of people, particularly Hindus, on its two major decisions namely, celebration of TipuJayanthi across the state and attempt to give minority status to Lingayats. Both didn’t go down well with the Hindus. While Congress was not much worried about the Hindu anger against TipuJayanthi, since it was confident of getting the maximum of Muslim votes, it was a bit worried about Lingayat issue, as the Lingayat community has been traditionally supporting BJP. Congress was of the opinion that a division in Lingayat votes, even if it is small, would be helpful in the overall tally.
After the poling was over, the exit poll done by various agencies and media houses predicted a hung assembly again. However, a few agencies predicted simple majority to BJP. On the day of counting and results, while the BJP was expected to scrap through the half way mark, it fell short of just 8 seats by securing the single largest party status winning 104 seats. In 2013, the party had secured only 40 seats due to the split caused by the exit of Yeddyurappa, who formed a new party Karnataka JanataPaksha causing a heavy dent in BJP’s vote share and winning 6 seats too.
So, it was a huge leap for BJP from 40 to 104 with 36.2% share with an increase of 16.3% from 2013. A close look revealed that the party lost considerably in urban areas, particularly in Bengaluru, where the poll percentage was just 55%. A considerable section of BJP’s core voters, disgruntled with the party for not doing anything for them, have reportedly preferred NOTA. Had they voted, he party would have probably sailed through.
Fighting anti-incumbency, Congress lost heavily and came down from 122 in 2013 to 78 now with a share of 38% with an increase of 1.4% from 2013. However, at the end of the day, it is the number of seats which are important and not the vote share. Although the party got the maximum support from Muslims and Christians, it is quite evident that it lost a huge sum of Hindu votes.
As far as JD(S) was concerned, it lost 3 seats as well as 1.9% share compared to 2013.
The counting day was full of drama. As the results started coming in, BJP headquarters wore a festive look with celebrations and Yeddyurappa was seen talking to the media about his swearing in as CM. However, as its tally of leading seats varied between 100 and 104, after 11 am, the party men started sulking in fear that they might not reach the required mark.
The highly frustrated Congress immediately announced that it would have an alliance with JD(S) and form a government. Sonia sent GulamNabi Azad to talk to DeveGowda and finally the alliance was sealed after Congress voluntarily asked Kumarasamy to lead the government as CM. As both the parties wanted to keep BJP out, they sealed an alliance under the usual gimmick called ‘secularism’. They demanded that the Governor must invite them to form the government.
However, Governor preferred the ‘Single Largest Party’ and invited Yeddyurappa to form the government and prove vote of confidence within 15 days. This act by the governor was well within his rights and prerogative, and based on earlier precedence. The first choice for the governor is Pre-poll alliance, second choice is Single Largest Party and the third choice is Post-poll alliance. As there was no pre-poll alliance in Karnataka, governor invited the single largest party BJP.
Angered and frustrated by governor’s action, Congress approached the Supreme Court overnight and surprisingly SC also heard its plea very early in the morning and ordered for the floor test by 4 pm on 19th itself after the swearing in of all MLAS. It also ordered that the Protem Speaker should decide the mode of test and that the government should refrain from making any major policy decisions and should not nominate any Anglo-Indian member. However, Yeddyurappa on 17th itself signed for the waiver of Farmer loans to the tune of Rs.1 lakh, immediately after his swearing in as CM. The Centre also cleverly utilised this short period to bring a legal solution to the decades old Cauvery water sharing issue.
When the governor appointed KG Bopaiah as protem speaker, Congress knocked the doors of SC again saying that he was not the senior most MLA. However, SC allowed Bopaiah to act as protem speaker, but ordered live telecasting of the floor test by all media houses. As expected, CM Yeddyurappa resigned after an emotional speech before the floor test.
Then, Governor invited INC-JD(S) alliance to form the government and H.D.Kumarasamy was sworn in as CM with G.Paramaeshwara as his Deputy. The swearing-in ceremony was attended by an array of leaders such as Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi; West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee; Kerala CM PinarayiVijayan; Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu; Delhi CM ArvindKejriwal; BSP leader Mayawati; SP leader AkhileshYadav; CPI leader D. Raja, and CPI(M) general secretary SitaramYechury, among others, who are all opposed to BJP.
CM Kumarasamy would be facing his floor test on Friday the 25th and he is expected to sail through. However, past history of Karnataka politics in general and Kumarasamy’s antics in particular, shows that the government may not be stable. The Congress-JD(S) relationship has come a full circle after fourteen years and Kumarasamy is known for back-stabbing his allies. Siddaramaia, who was in the forefront up to the elections stands side-lined and D.K. Shivkumar may rock the boat soon, as there are indeed disgruntled members in both the parties who are averse to the alliance.
Lessons for People.
Although all the elections have been learning experiences for the people, the just concluded Karnataka election has taught some significant lessons, based on which, the people have to take some intelligent decisions in national interests.
Firstly, the present alliance between Congress and Janata Dal is unholy and opportunistic. The only thin thread which connects both is ‘anti-BJP’ factor, that is, BJP should be isolated and not allowed to form government at any cost. This alliance is a clear indication of what is going to come in future. The opposition may even form pre-poll alliances in the run up to the assemblies of Rajasthan, MP and Chattisgarh to keep the BJP out of power. And for the 2019 finale, all regional parties and Congress may form a huge alliance in the guise of ‘Secular Politics’. Such an opportunistic alliance will not have any commitment to clean and efficient governance and the country’s progress will take a heavy beating on all fronts. Country’s standing and image will fall drastically in the international arena.
Secondly, people have witnessed the pathetic functioning of such governments under DeveGowda, IK Gujral and later a decade of decay under Manmohan Singh. The graphs of corruption and crimes have been steadily increasing during those periods. But a study of the last four years of BJP government under NarendraModi’s leadership shows a very encouraging picture. The governance has been clean without corruption; ministers have been efficient and responsible; many developmental measures have been initiated which are likely to bear fruits in the coming years; steps taken to restrict black money hoarding, havala markets, benami holdings, religious conversions and terror funding by demonetiation, screening of NGOs and revoking of FCRA licences; very well thought out foreign policy and building up of very good relationship with other countries; numerous welfare schemes and progressive measures for poor, farmers and women; implementation of GST; strong and decisive actions against terrorism and Maoism and a steady economic growth. People are able to see an efficient, stable government working tirelessly for the progress of the nation. NarendraModi would probably come out as the greatest visionary Leader in the last seventy years of Independent India.
Thirdly, people should compare the governance happening in BJP ruled states against non-BJP ruled states. The development in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan is obvious. Fadnavis led government in Maharashtra is doing a great job. ManoharParikkar’s governance in Goa is very good. Right from day one, Yogi Adiyanath is very active and his initiatives are bound to bear fruits in the days to come. Crime rate has drastically fallen in UP. Haryana and HP are also doing well. On the contrary, the deterioration of law & order, increase in crime graph, degradation of Bharatiya Culture, lack of development are clearly visible in states like West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other non-BJP states. The governance by Congress, Communists and regional parties has been awful and all those leaders are proven self-centred politicians, who care a hoot for nation’s progress.
Last but not the least, people must realise their responsibility to maintain the civilizational greatness and cultural strength of India. BharatiyaSanskruti is facing grave threats from foreign forces which are bent upon destroying our culture and tradition. Sadly and unfortunately, Congress (under a foreigner who doesn’t know and care about our culture), Communists (useless ideology totally alien to our culture) and regional parties (self-centred) act only as slaves of those foreign forces. The recent past two decades have clearly recorded the terrible terrorist activities, cunning conversion games, chauvinism, racism and separatism unleashed on our country. Yet another chance to the unholy and opportunistic alliance stitched by Congress, Communists and regional parties will ruin our country beyond repair.
Secularism is an alien concept. Such a concept being practiced by these parties is the most potent threat. The secularism being practiced by these parties will only lead to the total destruction of BharatiyaSanskruti. Our culture is basically secular in nature. We don’t need alien concepts. Minorities in India must remember that they have a Hindu ancestry and that they are culturally more Indian than European or Middle Eastern. They must also act as per their conscience, which would certainly tell them the truth that they have been having a peaceful and happy life in the last four years.
People have a huge responsibility in 2019, and that is, to vote in national interest taking into consideration all the above factors.