About two decades ago, while working for an English newspaper, I was booed by my colleagues when I said that the BJP was the party on the rise in Karnataka and would come to power. As that newspaper had written off the BJP as communal, its journalists were in no mood to listen to me.
The results of the elections to the 17th Lok Sabha from Karnataka reaffirm the supremacy of the BJP in Karnataka. At the same time, they expose the hypocrisy of sections of the English language media in the country. That the Indian National Congress managed to get a single seat shows that the people’s verdict is a farewell address to what remains of that party in Karnataka. The less said about the other party, the Janata Dal (Secular) which had never been welcomed by the people of the State , to speak of a farewell.
The triumph of the BJP all over the country and in particular Karnataka, has pulverized and paralyzed the unholy alliance of Congress and JD (S) in the State. The coalition Government’s days are numbered. Even if it lumbers on, under the specious logic of parliamentary and Assembly elections being different, it will be without a moral right to govern.
Long gone are the days when the Lok Sabha elections from the State were foregone affairs with the Congress emerging on top and the opposition not getting even the crumbs. The newspapers used to come out with pedestrian headlines :Congress triumphs in all the 28 Seats from Karnataka” or “ “Congress allows a Single bye to the Opposition”. The only exception was the elections of 1967 when the Swatantra Party (five), Praja Socialist Party (two), Socialist Party (one) and a lone independent bagged nine out of the then 26 seats from the State. Note that there was no space even in that year for the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the older version of the BJP.
The non-Congress parties often put up a farce opposition to the Congress. Consider the “eccentric” candidature of the famous poet and actor , Harindranath Chattopadhyaya from the then Bangalore city (now Bangalore North) constituency in 1957. He had contested as an independent supported by the Communists. He had made his campaign a real drama and used to carry a harmonium and sing in Hindi and Bengali to the Kannadiga voters ! Needless to say, the younger brother of Sarojini Naidu lost badly to the Congress stalwart, N.Keshava Iyengar in that election.
The results of the elections to the 17th Lok Sabha from Karnataka should be read against the background of the State being a “more loyal than the king” voter for the Congress. Analysing the last six Lok Sabha elections from the State , the Congress has registered the worst ever performance, winning a lone seat. It eclipses its “previous worst” record of five seats won in the 1996 elections. The number of seats it won in the next five elections were 1998 nine, 1999 eighteen, 2004 eight, 2009 six and 2014 nine.
The best ever performance of the Janata Dal (the JD-S is a rump of that party) was the 16 seats won in 1996. That helped H.D.Deve Gowda become the prime minister succeeding A.B.Vajpayee.
The Karnataka vote is a rejection of the dynastic politics of both the Congress and the JD (S), the claims of the two to be secular and the BJP is communal, of the slanderous and vitriolic campaign of the Congress leader Siddaramaiah in particular that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an inveterate liar and a thief . It is not the coalition government alone which is facing the problem of existence. There is a question mark over the future of the JD(S) which is today without its well meaning leaders and is no more than “H.D.Deve Gowda and Sons and Grandsons” enterprise trading in politics and public money.
There is at the same time a warning note for the BJP. It will be no surprise if the JD (S) snaps its ties with the Congress and offers its unstinted support to form a new government. The JD (S) cannot exist without power . The BJP leaders have not forgotten the master betrayal of the JD (S) in November 2007. The JD (S) paraded its MLAs before the then President of India Pratibha Patil pledging support to the BJP to form a new government. Once they returned to Bangalore, the JD (S) leaders reneged on their words and denied support to the first Yeddyurappa government which lasted only one week. However that government is remembered as it raised the age of retirement of Karnataka Government employees from 58 to 60 years. What is there to remember about the incumbent Kumaraswamy Government except the dismal defeat and misrule?
Coalition Government in Karnataka is shaking and may fall on its own
- R Guruprasad
After the disastrous performance in the Loksabha elections and Assembly bye-polls, the Congress -JD(S) coalition Government in Karnataka is shaking. It may fall on its own due to dissidence of MLAs and dissatisfaction of party workers from both sides over an unholy alliance.
By winning Chincholi Assembly seat in the by-election, BJP increased its strength in the Assembly. Congress managed to retain Kundagol Assembly seat with a thin margin. With the support of the two independent candidates, BJP's strength in the Assembly has gone up to 107. The Congress - JD(S) alliance strength is 117. The magic number to form the Government is 113 in the 224 Assembly seat.
The move to make Parameshwara as Chief Minister and H D Revanna, brother of sitting Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy as Deputy chief Minister is also doing rounds among political corridors to save the coalition Government.
After losing Tumkur and Mandya Lok Sabha seats, JD(S) family is terribly shaken and JD(S) MLA's are ready to break away and eager to join hands with BJP to form the Government. This development is causing political turmoil and keeping both Congress and JD(S) leaders in tension. However, BJP is not in a hurry to form the Government. BJP party president B.S.Yeddyurappa who was instrumental in winning maximum seats for BJP said he will wait for the developments to take its own terms and wait for a few days observing the situation.
While the Congress heavyweights like Mallikarjun Kharge, KH Muniyappa, Veerappa Moily and VS Ugrappa lost badly, BJP Leader Anant Kumar Hegde created a record in the state by winning with the highest margin of 4,79,649 votes by defeating JDS candidate Anand Asnotikar from Uttara Kannada Loksabha Constituency. BJP has secured 51.38% votes and the coalition partners combined managed to get only 41%.