Karnataka drama

Kashmir Times. Dated: 7/12/2019 10:50:51 AM

Display of shameful brute state power and the weakening Congress faced by a spell of internal squabbles

As the political crisis in Karnataka deepens with Congress leader DK Shivakumar being stopped by police on Wednesday from entering the hotel where rebel MLAs have been locked up, one thing is almost inevitable - the weakening of the present Congress-JD(S) coalition, if not entirely its fall. The ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka has been rocked by the resignations of 14 MLAs - 11 of the former and three of the latter. Though the coalition won a breather on Tuesday after the Karnataka Speaker averred that the 14 resignations were not in order, explaining that none of the legislators had met him, the brazen use of state machinery to stall any attempts by the Congress to broker peace between the allies and engage in negotiations with the rebels, as the drama began to unfold on Wednesday, dampens the prospects of survival of the Karnataka government. The rebel legislators have moved the Supreme Court on the resignations issue and the apex court will be hearing the petition on Thursday. If the resignations are valid, the Congress-JD(S) coalition's numbers will drop from 118 to 102 and lose its majority creating a situation that will be opportune for the BJP to harvest as the BJP with 105 seats would be able to assert its majority with the majority mark in a assembly of 224 seats dropping from the 113 mark to 105. Though, the BJP has denied any role in the present crisis, the slew of resignations do not appear to be triggered by some epidemic but are definitely engineered. Like most such dramas revolving the game of numbers, the legislators have been collected and shipped to Mumbai on special flights. That an entire police machinery of the Maharashtra police was used to stonewall bid by the visiting Congress leader to break the ice with the rebels shows the paw prints of the BJP which is in power both at the Centre and in Maharashtra. In the backdrop of this unfolding drama, the party's activists are holding protests across Karnataka, saying that the coalition has lost the moral authority to rule.
The entire scenario which has been repeated in many states facing hung assemblies in the last several decades and once again exposes the shameful throttling of democracy. It also reveals that Indian politics is still far from negotiating coalition politics with maturity and sense of responsibility. Government formation riddled by rank opportunism, horse trading and by muddying the political waters do not enhance the prestige of Indian politics, political groups or Indian democracy. In the present drama, the moral responsibility falls on the shoulders of all the stake-holders. Instead of playing the victim card, the Congress may need to self-introspect on how the genetically inspired arrogance of the party-members has been responsible for creating fissures in the coalition with JD(S) just one year after its formation. The petty and partisan interests of the JD(S) are equally to be blamed. Congress may learn the hard way that an egoistic power tussle will be advantage for the BJP. Karnataka may not be the only casualty for the Congress which is unable to stop internal feuds and fights within the party fold. The BJP is eyeing both Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, even though Congress is in majority (near majority in the former) in these states. If the Congress is unable to take timely course correction, it may find these major electoral victories of last year being wrested from its control. It must come to terms with the fact that it pitted against an adversary that is inspired by the idea of future in which opposition is completely decimated, reduced and diminished.



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