Ever since the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] government of Karnataka was formed, the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] is trying to topple it, according to various media reports, by luring the MLAs of the Congress and JD(S) with promises of exuberant amounts of money. As NewsClick has reported in the past, the squabbles within the coalition and the fact that the Congress has disgruntled MLAs because of not getting their desired positions in the Cabinet, had made it easy for the BJP to disturb the functioning of the government.
However, the result of the Lok Sabha elections, with the ruling Congress and JD(S) getting just one seat each and the BJP winning in 25, had made the survival of the coalition government even more doubtful. The Hindu reported, “The BJP central leadership, which had till now halted efforts by its Karnataka unit to woo MLAs from the ruling JD(S)-Congress combine, is learnt to have given clearance to go ahead with its plans.”
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B S Yeddyurappa of the BJP, following the announcement of the general election results, had said that the national leadership of the party had forbidden any action like “Operation Kamala 2.0” that would embarrass the party nationally. He also had said: “The results of the general elections show that the people of the state have rejected a coalition government, and if they have some sense of ethics, they will dissolve the government themselves. Tens of Congress MLAs are already in touch with us.”
However, the situation has changed now. The BJP national leadership is said to be “monitoring” while the local leaders exercise the political defections, reported The Hindu; and as NewsClick had reported, the people of the 63 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) that went to polls on May 29 have overwhelmingly voted for the Congress.
While the Congress won 509 seats, JD(S) won 174 seats, and BJP won 366 seats while independent candidates got 160 seats, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party won three, CPI(M) two, and other parties won seven. This, of course, rules out what Yeddyurappa has been saying and restates the political cliché – people vote differently in different elections. Therefore, it cannot be comprehended what the people of the state are thinking exactly. The question in all of this drama is, what are the political parties thinking? The recent developments in the state show that the political parties in the state are busy in the game of forming their governments.
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The Game of Forming Governments
On May 15, 2018, the Congress and the JD(S), who fought against each other in the Assembly elections held on May 12, decided to come together and form the government saying, it is important to keep the BJP out of the state politics. To begin with, the communal ideology of the BJP was quoted as the reason for keeping the saffron party out of the state. Now, just after one year and two months of their government, both the parties are fighting with each other, and one wonders if they are unaware of the fact that they are making it easy for the BJP. If on the one hand the BJP is all set to cause defection of the MLAs, on the other hand, the coalition seems to be weakening with both the parties refusing to cooperate with each other.
There is no general consensus within the Congress in the state regarding this coalition government, according to various media reports. Congress leader Roshan Baig have even accused the party state leadership for the poor performance in the general election. Baig, however, has been suspended indefinitely “on account of his anti-party activities” and also for his alleged involvement in the infamous, I Monetary Advisory (IMA) scam. Following the growing unrest within the Congress in the state, especially post general election results and particularly with the growing dissent against the coalition government, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) has dissolved the Karnataka Pradeshika Congress Committee (KPCC).
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ANI quoted Dinesh Gundu Rao, president of KPCC, as saying: “Congress President gave approval (to dissolve KPCC). Now we’ve to see how to reorganise not only KPCC but also district Congress & Block Congress committees. It’ll be a total reorganisation of the party at all levels.”
Siddaramaiah, the former chief minister of the state and a leader of the coalition coordination committee, according to a Prajavani report, has told Rahul Gandhi that the coalition was the main reason for the Congress failing to retain its hold in the state. Having said that, he reportedly has left it on Gandhi to take a call on the future of the coalition. The Economic Times quoted the CM Kumaraswamy as saying, "I promise I will fulfil your expectations. I can't express the pain I am going through every day. I want to express it with you, but cannot. But I need to solve the pain of people of the state. I have the responsibility of running the government smoothly." He also accused the BJP of offering Rs 10 crore to a JD(S) MLA.
Irrespective of what is happening within their parties and the coalition, both Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy have maintained, that the government would not collapse and they would strive hard to keep the government together.
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