Is BJP's Karnataka debacle a personal defeat of Amit Shah?
New Delhi, May 22: Generally, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) never likes to address "uncomfortable questions" especially when it showcases the saffron party and its top leadership in a bad light.
In the last four years, since the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre, we saw whenever the country is in distress, be it mob lynching of Muslims and Dalits by Hindus, rapes and killings of women and girls and decline in the economy, to name a few disasters under the Narendra Modi government, the Prime Minister and his top cabinet colleagues turn "mum" literally till the storm calms down.
The tactic adopted by the ruling BJP has been working well for the party, although "anti-nationals" continue to attack the Modi government over its various failures. Despite its many flaws and rampant misuse of institutions to carry forward its alleged "divisive politics", the BJP has been winning elections after elections across the country. Apart from being in power at the Centre, the BJP is currently ruling 21 states in the country.
The BJP's "winning chariot" hit a bumpy road when it failed to form its government in Karnataka even after emerging as the single-largest party with 104 seats in the highly-contested Assembly elections in the southern state.
To its utter shock, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)) joined hands to thwart the BJP's attempt to come to power in the southern state for a second time.
After allegedly arm-twisting the office of the governor to help BS Yeddyurappa get sworn in as the chief minister despite the saffron party not having the numbers (whereas the Congress-JD(S) combine has it), the BJP got another blow when the Supreme Court asked the party to prove its majority on the floor of the house immediately.
Since it failed to get the support of MLAs from the Congress and the JD(S), just minutes ahead of the floor test, Yeddyurappa decided to resign as the CM. Unconfirmed audio tapes and statements by the Congress and the JD(S) give a picture of how desperately the BJP tried to "poach" MLAs from the opposition camps to help remain in power.
Now, governor Vajubhai Vala has invited the Congress-JD(S) alliance to form the new government in the state. JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy is all set to take oath as the new CM on Wednesday.
The BJP, which has hardly seen any defeat since 2014, found the whole Karnataka episode a "bitter pill to swallow". While PM Modi kept himself busy by visiting Kashmir and Russia in the last two days to forget the "nightmare" in Karnataka, where he ran a high-pitched campaign against the Congress, his "younger brother" BJP president Amit Shah seems to be raging within.
On Monday evening, Shah decided to hold a press conference in the national capital where he claimed that the BJP did the right thing by staking its claim to form the government in Karnataka as the mandate was for the saffron party.
He called the Congress-JD(S) alliance "unholy". When reporters asked him why the same logic (single-largest party forming the government after an election) is not applied in Goa and Manipur (last year) and Meghalaya (this year), the BJP supremo simply said the Congress (in all the three states the Congress had emerged as the single-largest party after the Assembly elections) did not stake its claim.
Shah also rubbished allegations of horse-trading and poaching by the BJP. He said that the Congress has bought the entire stable (indirectly alleging that the Congress bought the entire JD(S)) when it was crying foul over horse-trading by the saffron party.
He added that had the Congress-JD(S) MLAs were not locked up inside hotels and resorts than things could have been different. His comment has been construed by many as that the BJP would have easily bought the MLAs from the opposition camps if they would have been "roaming freely".
The impromptu press meet of Shah was not a simple one where the vanquished throw charges against the victor. The press meet came two days after the BJP decided to avoid a floor test in Karnataka on Saturday. Shah did not say anything new in the press meet and just repeated the same old charges his party colleagues have been mouthing against the Congress-JD(S) alliance.
According to reports, the whole Karnataka debacle of the BJP is a huge "personal blow" for Shah. The press meet was an attempt to "pre-empt any murmurs against him within the party", stated The Telegraph.
Many inside the party have already started talking about Shah remaining the BJP president for a long time. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders seem to be unhappy with the way Modi-Shah jodi tackled the Karnataka episode. Many in the BJP and the RSS believed that the saffron party should not have taken the risk of forming its government in Karnataka which has brought a lot of bad name to the party ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
As the entire Karnataka election was single-handedly manned by Shah, the whole blame now rests on him. Shah's supporters deny any opposition to him within the party. Many also feel he is the next prime ministerial candidate of the BJP.