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The Janata Dal (Secular) led by its President H.D.Kumaraswamy would form the government in alliance with the Congress in Karnataka. Prior to that, much water had flown in after the Bharatiya Janata Party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa tendered his resignation instantly following his inability to face the floor test to prove his party’s majority within a short-span of time, as directed by the Supreme Court. It is pertinent to point out here that the Governor Vajubhai Vala had earlier invited the single largest party led by Yeddyurappa to form the government, with 15 days time to prove his majority. The tide tilted in favour of the Congress-JD(S) combine, when they approached the Supreme Court to seek justice.

The insiders in the BJP regret that their party missed a golden opportunity to gain sympathy from the people. A large number of party loyalists and a section of cadre were unable to defend the haste in which Yeddyurappa and his trusted lieutenants made an attempt to form the government, without realising the ground reality, that the simple arithmetic was eluding them. It was an open secret that the BJP made a frantic attempt to form the government by indulging in horse-trading. Yeddyurappa was confident-personified and opined that there was no stoppage of his forming the government and he will be ruling the destiny of Karnataka for the third time around with redoubled vigour. The BJP virtually took the South of Vindhyas for granted, but the harsh reality had dawned on them, that its attempt to lure some MLAs from Congress and JD(S), as alleged by the JD(S) with Rs 100 crore and ministerial berths went in vain.

The logic defies the BJP, says a political analyst. The party could have ended up as a martyr in Karnataka, had they not claimed to form the government, and instead paved way for the Congress and JD(S) to stake their claim, thereby proving that they are only continuing with the policy that they enunciated in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, apart from Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh earlier. It may be noted that the BJP could form the governments in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya with its alliance partners, when the Governors in those states did not invite Congress, the single largest party to form the government. The BJP Tamil Nadu-unit leader Narayanan, however, said that the Congress did not claim to form the government in Goa, whereas in Manipur, it manipulated with its wrong presentation to the governor. The economic and political commentator and the Editor of Tamil Weekly Magazine, Thuglak, S. Gurumurthy wrote in a crystalclear manner in the Weekly that it is a mistake on the part of the Congress, not to claim formation of the government in Goa, Manipur and Megalaya. He also asserted that the Karnataka Governor acted as per the Sarkaria Commission recommendation, while inviting Yeddyurappa to prove his party’s majority, but considering the gravity of the situation, he need not have given a fortnight time for the BJP to prove its strength.

The Congress, however, would not buy the argument of the BJP leaders, and retorted that, though the party failed to claim in Goa, it is the duty of the Governor to call the single largest party to form the government. The Rashtriya Janata Party leader Tejaswi, and son of the party supremo Lallu Prasad had demanded an explanation from the BJP for the gubernatorial office not inviting his party to form the government in Bihar, after his party as a single majority, ended up with 80 seats, compared to 71 by the Janata Dal (United) 71 and BJP’s 53. Tejaswi also charged the Karnataka Governor, that with his Rashtriya Swayamvek Sangh background and a former minister in the Gujarat government led by the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he was not inclined to render justice to the Opposition parties, before they hastened to take up the sensitive issue to the Supreme Court.

The writing was on the wall for the BJP, when the judges were busy with brainstorming discussions from midnight to dawn. The situation was also ideal for the Karnataka Governor to remove the perception that they are always expected to perform in a partisan manner, similar to the view on CBI. The BJP could have even termed it as a moral victory. Moreover, with the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for next year, the party can expect a significant performance from Karnataka, more or less similar to the 20 seats it won in the last Lok Sabha elections, as the Congress-JD(S) combine are destined to face further anti-incumbency in due course. The blunder has dented the image of the BJP at the national level, as well as at Karnataka. Adding fuel to the fire, the party was unable to capitalise on the rank opportunism displayed by the Congress and JD(S).

It was a systematic and orchestrated strategy and meticulously planning by the Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi that clinched an alliance between the Congress and JD(S). She bowled a virtual googly by offering the Chief Minister’s berth to the JD(S) President H.D. Kumaraswamy. For instance, if the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had played a mind-game before the elections to appease the JD(S) patron H.D. Deve Gowda, Sonia fired a solvo by offering to make his son as the Chief Minister. It looked, as if, for a change, the Congress acted like the BJP in earlier assembly elections, and the Sangh Parivar caved in meekly, after it played the game into the waiting hands of Sonia and the Congress President, Rahul Gandhi. Grapevine in the political circle informs that though, initially, Sonia did not want the Congress to participate in the ministry, it was Deve Gowda, who urged her party to participate in the new government. The insiders in the Congress and JD(S) admitted that it is a marriage of convenience between the two parties. But at the same time, they promised that the collapse of their coalition government in 2004 would not be repeated henceforth.

K.V. Venugopal

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