The Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka, headed by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, is hanging by a thread as Independent MLA H. Nagesh resigned as a minister and announced support to the BJP Monday. Over the weekend, 13 Congress and JD(S) MLAs had resigned, reducing the coalition’s strength to 105, which is on par with the BJP’s tally in the Assembly.
ThePrint asks: Should Karnataka hold fresh elections or continue to bank on unnatural political alliances?
Amit Shah has told us to remain calm, focus on making party stronger
Karnataka BJP general secretary
In situations like these, it is the parliamentary board of the BJP that has to make a decision. We, as a state party unit, cannot take any decision on our own. We are waiting and watching the developments in Karnataka. We need to see what speaker Ramesh Kumar has to say. No decision has been taken on the resignations yet.
As of now, we have no official direction from our high command. The government is trying to save itself. We will take a positive step when the time is right. The claim that we have engaged in Operation Kamala 2.0 is false. It is the Congress-JD(S) coalition that is in desperate need of an operation.
The Congress and the JD(S) will keep on dragging this matter and make it more difficult for themselves to get out of the crisis. The speaker too will try and drag it further. They will probably convince (or pressurise) some MLAs to return.
We have been told by the high command to stay calm. When a few of our senior leaders went to ask Amit Shah what we should do in Karnataka, he just said: “Party ko mazboot banao, membership ko aage badhao (Make the party stronger, increase party membership).”
We are in the process of weaning our MLAs back from BJP and are confident
If you play dirty, then it’s bound to boomerang. This has been proved in 2008 and 2013. Now, they have power and are trying to woo MLAs away, but it does not make the situation any better than what happened in 2008 and 2013. The exact same thing may happen again, but we are in the process of trying to wean our MLAs away from them and get them back. We are confident that we will be able to retain our MLAs.
Today, the democratic process is being held captive by a political party through its sheer money power. And it has already demonstrated this power in states like Goa, Gujarat and Manipur. Karnataka has also seen this extensive use of money power with its previous BJP government.
The BJP government used Operation Kamala to woo legislators. It managed to get close to 22 MLAs to switch over in 2013 by making exorbitant promises to them. But it unravelled soon. History is bound to repeat itself.
While the BJP may be offering these MLAs crores of money, they won’t be loyal to the party or its ideology.
Congress & JD(S) came together on the principle of secularism. There’s nothing unnatural about it
In a democracy, any party that reaches the magic number in the Assembly has the mandate to form the government.
Let’s be clear that there are no natural or unnatural alliances. You choose an alliance partner that is closest to your ideology and doesn’t hurt it. The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have come together on the principle of secularism. So, there is nothing unnatural about it.
Who are we to decide if there should be a fresh election in the state?
If the people of the country have given a mandate to PM Narendra Modi to govern the country for the next five years, then people of Karnataka have given these two parties the mandate to govern the state together.
There is no need for a fresh election as this alliance is here to stay and there is mutual understanding between the two parties. This government has a free hand to take decisions unlike some other governments, which are dictated by the dogmatic principles of the RSS, VHP and the Bajrang Dal.
Aspirations of a few individuals can cause friction in an alliance but it doesn’t mean that the government will fall.
BJP would prefer fresh polls & coming back to power with a big majority
I would say that Karnataka should go for fresh elections. Even if the Congress were to resolve the current crisis, I don’t think this coalition government would last long.
Appointing a new chief minister and MLAs withdrawing their resignations are only stop-gap arrangements. There are inherent fundamental contradictions in the alliance between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).
But I don’t see the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rushing to form the government either. Although it emerged as the single-largest party after the 2018 assembly election and put up an impressive performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls, the party would not want to be seen doing anything that gives it negative publicity.
Other than state BJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa, no one in the BJP high command is eager to claim the throne. I think the BJP would recommend President’s rule and prefer going to elections along with Maharashtra end of this year. The BJP would like to come back to power with a big majority. The party is confident that there will be no sympathy wave for the Congress or the JD(S) in the next state election.
Compiled by Rohini Swamy.
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