How Congress-JD(S) coalition govt in Karnataka aptly proves Opposition unity is a farce
Bengaluru, June 27: How long a political potboiler will continue to pique the voters' curiosity? It should definitely not be as long, unending as the Karnataka nataka (drama)--a vulgar display of power hungry politicians hell-bent on twisting and turning every democratic and constitutional norm to rule over the rich state coffers.
The ongoing drama, which started before the May 12 Assembly elections in Karnataka (the high-voltage campaign season was pushed by big money and hate narrative), continues to test the patience of the voters who are eagerly waiting for the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)) coalition government to work for the greater good of the state.
It seems the voters are asking for the moon by hoping the ministers and MLAs of the Congress-JD(S) government to do their basic duty--that is to govern and take care of the needs of the people.
But where is the time for the legislators to look after the state's interests when they are busy engaging themselves in lobbying, palace intrigue and a possible coup to topple the HD Kumaraswamy government?
Reports suggest that the disgruntled senior Congress leaders, who failed to get ministerial berths, are ready to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to overthrow the month-long Congress-JD(S) government headed by Kumaraswamy.
Again, the Congress and the JD(S) are fighting over whether or not Kumaraswamy should present the new government's first full-fledged budget on July 5. Former Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah, who has been put on the bench by the party high command and is currently nursing his campaign fatigue at a nature therapy hospital in Dharmasthala, is the main voice opposing the CM's attempts to present the budget-- which is a norm for any new government to do so.
In two viral videos, 'disgruntled' Siddaramaiah, the chairman of the Congress-JD(S) coordination committee, was first heard expressing his disapproval for the presentation of a fresh budget. In the second video, the former CM expressed his doubts about the Congress-JD(S) government completing its full five-year term.
"Five years...difficult...let's see what will happen after the Parliament election (in 2019)," Siddaramaiah was heard saying in the video when someone asked him about the fate of the new coalition government.
Rumours are rife that a no-confidence motion could be moved against the coalition government by the BJP during the Karnataka legislature session set to begin from July 2. Although former CM BS Yeddyurappa managed to quietly sneak out of Bengaluru to Ahmedabad, Gujarat recently to meet BJP president Amit Shah to talk about the future course of action in the state, for the time being the saffron party has decided to wait and watch the political drama.
Kumaraswamy, who of late has been blowing hot and cold, told his ally that he was not "at the mercy of anybody". In spite of an open war between the partners, in front of the camera, both the Congress and the JD(S) leaders are maintaining that "all is well".
It was never a smooth sailing for the Congress-JD(S) alliance government. While during the election campaign they hurled the vilest of allegations against each other, the quick post-poll alliance between the coalition partners to keep the BJP out of power brought out in the open the desperation within its own ranks.
The infighting within the Congress over ministerial berths has always been a cause of concern about the stability of the present Karnataka government. Right from the very beginning, a section of the Congress opposed the move of the party high command to give the chief ministerial post to the JD(S).
The Congress, which had won 78 seats against the JD(S)' 37 in the May 12 Assembly elections when polling took place in 222 constituencies, had to bow to the JD(S) to keep the BJP at bay.
The decisions taken by the top leaders of the Congress were never acceptable to a section of the local partymen. The bad blood between Siddaramaiah, who was the Congress' CM face during the campaigning, and HD Deve Gowda (the patriarch of the JD(S)) family is legendary.
In spite of all the hiccups, the "unholy" alliance took shape in Karnataka. The BJP called the friendship between the Congress and the JD(S) as "opportunistic".
The power tussle within the ruling Karnataka government is a perfect example of lost opportunity for the Opposition against the mighty Narendra Modi government. If the Opposition--which came out in full force to showcase its unity during the swearing-in ceremony of Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru in May--is hoping to copy the Karnataka coalition template at the national level, then it should better find an alternative to fight the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
With several conflicts and compulsions, the opposition parties stand no chance to fight against the BJP in the upcoming General elections. Till the Opposition set its house in order, it should not dream about toppling the Modi government.