The fall of the 14 month-old Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in Karnataka and the way the Bharatiya Janata Party has won the reign takeover has undoubtedly shocked the country. The BJP is openly threatening to dethrone several other state governments where it is in opposition. Amid these developments, BJP’s logic of ‘people’s mandate’ has turned out farcical while the state is set to see another abrupt change of government.
Responding to Tuesday’s Assembly floor test, former Prime Minister and JD(S) leader Deve Gowda said, “The way in which things have happened in Karnataka, I have never seen in my political career. The way in which a national party, BJP and its leadership have allowed this type of horse trading, I have never seen in my life.” This ‘horse trading’ of MLAs that unfolded in the last three weeks has been in the spotlight across the country amid twists and turns such as the rival camp MLAs being corralled in resorts and hotels, allegations of bribery, defamation and the Supreme Court’s intervention.
In the trust vote, the coalition government lost as it got just 99 votes as rebel and resigned MLAs failed to attend the Assembly while the BJP’s 105 MLAs voted against the government. Lone Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA N Mahesh didn’t attend the voting and was consequently expelled by BSP supremo Mayawati for acting against her will. Although the BJP is set to form the government, the saffron party is still short in majority in the 224 seat Assembly, and the need for elections in place of disqualified MLAs firmly indicate that the crisis is not over yet.
Also read: People’s Demands Amid Political Turmoil in Karnataka
Talking about BJP’s plan to bring one party rule, GV Sreerama Reddy, state secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) told NewsClick, “They (BJP) want to destroy all parties and wants to bring a single party in the country.” Explaining the BJP’s agenda in play, he said that the saffron party is conspiring to dethrone state governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
“The government which BJP will form with 107 MLAs will be a minority government as already 12 Congress MLAs are disqualified by the speaker,” Reddy told NewsClick. A total of 16 MLAs – 13 from the Congress and 3 from JDS – had resigned after joining hands with the BJP.
In Karnataka Assembly polls 2018, no party secured a majority but the BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa was sworn-in as Chief Minister, who resigned in a couple of days when Congress and JD(S) agreed to form a coalition government with Kumaraswamy as the head of the government. Since then, the BJP has been openly claiming that the alliance was ‘unholy’ and against the people’s mandate.
As things unfolded, the state’s BJP leaders in the last fourteen months have evidently made timely attempts to topple the coalition government. But, through the way of ‘horse trading MLAs’ and escaping the anti-defection law in the floor test, can the BJP call its to be formed minority government as ‘people’s mandate’.
With the latest change, Karnataka has seen twelve such events in the last two decades, a typical phenomenon in the state. In the history of Karnataka, only three chief ministers Nijalingappa (1962-68), D Devaraja Urs (1972-77) and Siddaramaiah (2013-2018) have completed their full term.
Also read: SC Reserves Judgement on Rebel MLAs for Tomorrow