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The political lessons from Karnataka

The political lessons from Karnataka

Having a hung assembly post elections is not anything new in the history of democracy.

Since practical democracy means party democracy, there is nothing extraordinary in the parties forming an alliance, reaching an agreement before and after the elections and sharing power. Even then, the politics in Karnataka became eventful post elections. A whole series of misuse of power and political immorality evolved triggering concern about democracy and the country. The Supreme Court was compelled to function even at midnight and during off days constantly intervening in the process of ascension to power and correcting the decisions of the government machinery. The drama that took place after the elections became highly complex such that even the international media had been eagerly watching Karnataka and reporting the political developments with much prominence. It can be said undoubtedly, that the BJP which is in power at the Centre spearheaded the decimation of democracy using power, money and mob force. The moment it was decided that any method would be adopted to accomplish the sole agenda of coming to power by violating the precedents and political etiquette, voters became irrelevant and the Constitutional institutions lost their credibility. Clearly it was not for upholding the spirit of the Constitution that Governor Vaju Bhai Wala used his discretionary power in a partisan manner. The demand of the Attorney General in the Supreme Court for a secret ballot was also not for justice. Rampant misuse of constitutional institutions and systems by forgoing democratic decorum, for power and the political interests of the party in power, is highly terrifying. The first and the significant lesson Karnataka provides is that in the present circumstances where communal polarization and hate speech have become the shortcuts to power, more strong voices should be heard about the setbacks of constitutional institutions and the reforms to be carried out in the democratic process.

That the Congress has been able to survive BJP’s power tactics and to make Yeddyurappa resign, should be giving Congress infinite political energy. Taking lessons from the failures in states like Goa and Manipur, and giving unconditional support to Janata Dal-S, Congress has been able to convince itself and regional parties that it is capable of agile political moves. Karnataka also imparts a lesson that Congress should be prepared for more flexibility in order to expand politically and become the sole connecting link at a national level that can strengthen the secular front, and bring together regional parties. For, the poll also proves that the regional alliances are the only way to checkmate the BJP in Lok Sabha elections. It will not ne sufficient to win mere votes, and only when there is sufficient ammunition in the form of alliances and tactical planning can it win seats, take on BJP and probably remove it from power. If the Congress is prepared to join forces with Mamata in Bengal and the Akhilesh-Mayawati combine in UP, and succeeds in forming realistic coalitions with local parties of different states, the Congress can face the coming Lok Sabha elections with increased vigour. And it will lend big morale to the secular camp. That is the second political lesson imparted by Karnataka.

The fatal casualty in the political drama of Karnataka is the basic principle that the primary obligation upon ascension to power is the endeavour for people's welfare. Karnataka also tells us that if a political dispensation of dependence and corruption goes unchecked, people will not offer support merely on the basis of a campaign against Fascism. The Congress and allied regional political parties have to come up with a more concrete common minimum political programme that can revitalize the troubled economy and the vitiated social scene. Suitable actions have to be prepared in advance to ensure participation in power for Dalits and backward communities, who are getting alienated from power structures. The failure of ill-conceived politics has provided huge possibility and energy to Karnataka Congress and secular forces. And the country is eagerly waiting to see whether democratic forces will use that opportunity effectively.

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