The saying ‘once bitten, twice shy’ does not seem to apply to the BJP. After the Karnataka Assembly elections last year, the saffron party, though did not have a majority, staked claim to form the government and B. S. Yaddyurappa was sworn in as the Chief Minister. But he had to unceremoniously quit the post without even facing a floor test, giving way to the Congress-JD(S) government. But, after a lull of few months, the BJP embarked on ‘operation lotus’ to dislodge the government, but it failed to take off. Yet again, after the spectacular victory of Narendra Modi in the general elections, the party has gone into overdrive to dislodge the Kumaraswamy government. This time around, many Congress and JD(S) MLAs seem to have fallen prey to the BJP’s machinations.
As we go to the press, the fate of the Karnataka government is hanging in balance with many MLAs from both the parties tendering resignations in phases. Though the BJP has denied any role in making the government to live on borrowed time, the way the rebel MLAs are being transported across States and moved from one hotel to another makes its role ‘visible’. The saffron operation is not limited to Karnataka alone. It has spread to neighbouring Goa where two-thirds of Congress MLAs have switched over to BJP overnight. It may not take long before the ‘virus’ spreads to States where Congress governments are hanging by a thread.
The fault for the present state of affairs does not lie at the BJP door alone. The leadership vacuum at the top of the Congress has brought in a certain amount of desperation and hopelessness among all strata of party men. Like a rudderless ship the party is floating in a chaotic political sea. The resignation of some of the MLAs is a reflection of their uncertain future in a party which itself is fighting an existential crisis. It is unthinkable that the grand old party could not put in motion the election of a new chief immediately after the decision of Rahul Gandhi to quit the post taking responsibility for the party’s debacle in the general elections. Senior leaders like Karan Singh have expressed dismay over such unpardonable delay in electing a new chief which is leading the party from one disaster to another.
Democracy and democratic institutions are the biggest victims of these murky developments. The concept of Congress-mukt Bharat which the BJP envisages will lead to one-party dictatorship in the country as there is no other party with a national foot print. Even the communist and socialist parties which had a semblance of national representation are disappearing from the scene. Hence it is the responsibility of the Congress to play its role more responsibly and effectively. Any effort to get rid of a rival party by hook or crook is a mockery of democracy. The BJP’s efforts to maximise its footprint across the country by alleged unethical means may bear fruit in the short-term, but the country will be the ultimate loser. Pursuit of power by any means is not democracy, but autocracy.(Published on 15th July 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 29)