Making a mockery of democracy

As the country goes to the next general elections in about three months, a sordid drama making a mockery of democracy is being played in Karnataka. The BJP, unable to stomach being outmanoeuvred by the Congress which quickly forged a post poll alliance with JD(U) to keep the BJP out of power, has now mounted  “Operation Topple to bring down the alliance government led by H. D. Kumarswamy. Two Independent legislators (one of whom was initially made a cabinet minister but later dropped during the cabinet reshuffle) have withdrawn support to the alliance government and switched over to the BJP. Three Congress legislators have been whisked away to Mumbai and kept incommunicado. They are expected to defect to the BJP. A BJP leader of Maharashtra has claimed his party will form the next government in Karnataka in a couple of days. The enormous amounts of money changing hands in this unabashed attempt to frustrate public opinion as expressed through the ballot box can only be imagined.
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and the Congress leaders seem confidence that they will be able to keep their flock together and that there is no threat to their government. That remains to be seen. But what is of concern is the scenario that will emerge after the Lok Sabha elections. As things stand, no single party or alliance of parties, is likely to emerge with a decisive and unassailable majority and with strong ideological cohesion after the polls. If the BJP fails to capture power again, then a loose coalition will form the government at the Centre. Unless there is a strong all-India party like the Congress to hold the smaller parties together and provide a semblance of governance, the coalition will be subject to constant aznd contradictory pulls and pressures and have an inbuilt element of instability.
It is unfortunate that the alliance forged  by Matawati and Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the largest contingent of members to the Lok Sabha should have decided to maintain an equidistance between the BJP and the Congress. Mayawati was as much critical of the Congress as of the BJP. Both these UP leaders should have realized that their influence and organizational strength is limited only to Uttar Pradesh. In the rest of the country the Congress is the biggest opposition party. There can be no opposition unity without the Congress. Parochial considerations in forging opposition unity will only facilitate the return to power of the BJP.

Tuesday, 15 January, 2019