The Karnataka elections only recently came to an end and I followed it with much fervour. What an action-packed high-octane drama! Adapted as a TV series, it sure would give Game of Thrones and House of Cards run for their money. I mean where else would you get such an ensemble featuring industry’s biggest actors or country’s biggest politicians (if you may) coming at one stage to deliver a mega-blockbuster.
The election campaign featured prominent and burning issues. Pressing issues like who is the real Hindu, who is more Hindu, should one stop eating beef to prove Hindu credentials were discussed. What? Where is the discussion on unemployment and development you ask? You’re silly to even think that, aren’t you? In the greater scheme of things, such trivial issues do not matter. Period.
However, it is not the election campaign but the events that unfolded once results started trickling in appal me. (Well, to be honest, the Hon’ble PM dishing out some misplaced facts during the campaign had a similar effect.)
On May 16, when results started coming in, it seemed pretty evident that the BJP was inching towards the majority. It was only inevitable that it would form the next Government. Of course, keeping the trend of changing the ruling party every election. The jubilation was visible on the party spokespersons across TV channels. But by evening, tides had turned.
The Karnataka verdict, as some exit polls predicted was a hung assembly. Painting a confident picture of getting a second term and one-upping BJP in the social media game, yet INC settled with a meagre tally of 78 compared to BJP’s 104, eight seats short from the halfway mark. JD(S) was a distant third with 38 seats.
Immediately after the final tally, memes and news started doing rounds on social media that it is only Mr Amit Shah’s acumen that can now clinch a majority for and bring BJP to power. A feat that he had earlier pulled off successfully in Goa and Manipur legislative elections. But giving the BJP a dose of its own medicine, Congress without wasting any time immediately extended support to JD(S) and went as far as offering the CM position to attain majority.
More drama ensued as all eyes now turned towards Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala. And this is when the climax of the saga kicks in. Since there’s no established policy, in case of a fractured mandate, it is the prerogative of the Governor to either invite the single largest party or a post-poll alliance to form the government. The rationale – invitation goes out to whoever seems to be in a position to provide a stable government. Now how a party with 104 seats seemed to do that over a post-poll alliance with a definite majority is open for debates.
Nonetheless, amidst midnight dramas, BS Yeddyurappa swore in as Chief Minister only to resign from his post minutes before the floor test (more like surprise test) ordered by Supreme Court. This has paved the way for the Congress-JD(S) alliance to stake a claim to the Government.
Now here’s the crazy thing. Two parties nowhere close to the public mandate will govern Karnataka for the next 5 years. And on top of it, the chief minister will belong to a party placed third in the state. Surely the people of Karnataka did not vote for this.
High time the constitution and judiciary look into this: a post-poll alliance is nothing but ‘jugaad’. And this applies to not only Karnataka but other states too. Inviting the BJP and allowing it 15 days’ time to prove its majority is clearly a go-ahead for horse trading. Similarly, parties finishing second and third coming together to rule should not how democracy be defined. If you couldn’t form an alliance and get the voters to validate it, you should not be entitled to forge a post-poll alliance. Because this, in the true sense, is the murder of democracy.