‘Operation Topple’ fails in Karnataka

The BJP could not gracefully accept defeat in the Karnataka Assembly elections. Ever since the Congress outwitted the saffron party by forming a government with the Janata Dal (Secular), efforts were made to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition. There were allegations that the BJP had offered huge sums of money to suborn the loyalty of some Congress and JD(S) legislators. The BJP vehemently denied such allegations but it was put on the back foot when Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy released audio tapes that purportedly recorded conversation between a BJP leader and a JD(S) leader offering bribe to cross sides. Some legislators alleged they were offered crores of rupees in what was called “Operation Lotus.” Their loyalty, however, could not be suborned. When the authenticity of the video tapes was challenged, Kumaraswamy said he would send the tapes for forensic examination. This caused a flutter in the saffron camp. Now The Hindu reports that the central leadership of the BJP has asked the party’s Karnataka unit to call it a day and call off the “Operation Lotus.” In the process the credibility and integrity of the saffron party took a beating.
This is an ominous portent for the future. If the NDA fails to get a clear majority and no other party or coalition of parties gets a decisive and convincing majority in the coming Lok Sabha elections, the door will be open for rampant horse-trading. Candidate selection, in the present situation, thus becomes a matter of great importance. Since the opposition believes it can win majority and form the next government at the Centre, it becomes incumbent on each and every opposition party to select candidates through a rigorous screening process so that only men and women of proven integrity – people whose loyalty cannot be suborned – are given nomination.
The common run of politicians is known more for their venality and greed of power rather than for their commitment to any ideology. Party hopping, in such an ambience, becomes very common. The next general elections will be crucial for this country because it will determine whether the democratic and secular polity will survive or give place to a majoritarian polity or Hindu rashtra. India’s is an assimilative culture and civilization in which every diverse mosaic of culture is woven into a vast tapestry in which every mosaic retains its individuality while becoming part of a culture known for its diversity. This diversity has to be maintained. Unity cannot be allowed to degenerate into uniformity.

Monday, 18 February, 2019