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In Karnataka political fiasco, voters are the biggest losers


Bengaluru, May 19: A political gunfight is on, not along the usual Indo-Pak border in the much-ravaged Kashmir. Strangely, to the horror of spectators, it has metamorphised into a 'nuke' war in a cherished and flourishing corner of India, Karnataka.

These days, in the south of the Vindhyas, the deadly political missiles are flying thick and fast, crushing under the debris every law that governs a democracy. The Constitution, the sacred book and the conscience keeper of a nation of 1.3 billion people, lies bulldozed in an unattended corner.

karnataka election

The deafening noise emanating from the constant bombing by combat aircrafts manned by some of the shrewdest, power-hungry politicians has reached far and wide, from remote Manipur to Lutyens' Delhi.

If a war analogy to describe the Karnataka nataka, political drama, is an insult to the never-ending sufferings of Syrians, then it is equally ignominious the way the political parties, especially the two main ones, are behaving to win what they are calling "Game of Thrones" or "GOT".

The highly-engaging master piece, the American fantasy drama series, GOT, shockingly showcases how deceit, intrigue, incestuous relationships and of course, murders are fine till they lead to the "throne".

The minute-by-minute media update of Karnataka political drama, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)) alliance are openly displaying the ugliest sides of politics, makes Cersei Lannister, one of the most-hated GOT characters, looks innocuous and vulnerable.

Thanks to the rigours of dirty Indian politics, none of our politicians are anything but vile, immoral and highly corrupt. Right from bribing and threatening voters to the sensational claim by one of the chief ministerial contenders, HD Kumaraswamy, that the BJP offered Rs 100 crore each to several of JD(S)' MLAs to switch sides, the entire Karnataka Assembly election season has been marred by one controversy after another.

In the run up to the voting on May 12 in Karnataka, the Election Commission (EC) seized an unprecedented amount of cash, liquor and freebies, which include Rs 94.66 crore cash, 5.54 lakh litres of liquor worth around Rs 28.78 crore and freebies worth Rs 66 crore.

So it comes as no surprise that out of the 221 newly-elected MLAs, 215 (97 per cent) are crorepatis as per a report by the Karnataka Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms-- the non-governmental organisations which work in the area of electoral and political reforms.

Just a day before the Karnataka elections, the EC decided to postpone polling at Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency in Bengaluru where about 10,000 voter ID cards were recovered from a flat triggering a bitter blame game between the BJP and the Congress.

The blatant use of money and muscle power is not restricted to elections only. In fact, after the election results were out, as none of the political parties managed to cross the majority mark (111 legislators now as 221 MLAs have been elected so far in the 224-member Assembly), politicians resorted to further 'crimes' to lay siege to the Vidhana Soudha (the Karnataka legislative Assembly building) in Bengaluru.

On the one hand, the BJP thought it alright to abuse the office of governor to put in place a minority government of BS Yeddyurappa in the state, on the other hand the Congress and the JD(S) packed all their MLAs inside air-conditioned buses to stay in luxury resorts and hotels in the outskirts of Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the BJP government in the state to prove its majority on the floor of the house on Saturday. The apex court's verdict was "historic" in many ways.

First, it ended the political uncertainty in the state to a great extent. Now, the BJP has almost no time to induce and intimidate MLAs from the opposition parties to join its camp. The Congress and the JD(S) too have been forced to bring back their legislators to Bengaluru, cutting short the grave practice of resort politics.

Despite the Supreme Court's verdict on the petition filed by the Congress-JD(S) combine in Karnataka against the decision of Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala to invite BJP's Yeddyurappa to form the government, there is no guarantee that Saturday's proceedings in the Assembly will be a smooth sailing one.

There are possibilities that before the floor test, chaos might break out inside the Assembly and there would be open horse-trading and defections. The MLAs from both the camps are likely to change loyalties faster than the most notorious polygamous person.

Saturday's outcome in Karnataka could be anything--a victory for the BJP or a "big win" for the Congress-JD(S) alliance or the imposition of President's rule in the state.

Whatever the result of the floor test, the contentious Karnataka election season has left a bad taste in many people's mouths. Afterall. no one cares about the voters' mandate.

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