Karnataka grand alliance: BJP's final push
If the government in Karnataka falls either from internal sabotage or external pressure, the ultimate benefit would accrue to the BJP
The importance of Karnataka government does not lie in unrelenting ambition of former chief minister Yeddyurappa. Its importance lies in the impact it will create nationally, if the JDS-Congress alliance comes apart. Karnataka today sells the idea of coalition being a stable entity which BJP wants to discredit at the national level.
Secondly, if the alliance continues, BJP will find very difficult to retain 17 seats in the state. The matter becomes more acute as SP-BSP alliance has firmed up in Uttar Pradesh which means that BJP’s numbers in the north will also come down substantially. If this is to happen in every state then BJP would lose Lok Sabha elections even before the campaign begins. It is for this reason, BJP wants the Congress-JDS government to fall in Karnataka.
If coalition gets discredited in Karnataka, then the BJP will be able to discredit the idea of a Grand Alliance in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. The sudden desperation on part of BJP to topple the government also stems from triple victory of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
If the government in Karnataka falls either from internal sabotage or external pressure, the ultimate benefit would accrue to the BJP and it will be on three counts.
BJP will go to the town saying that Grand Alliance against BJP is a dead idea and squabbling leaders have nothing in common except hatred against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The fall will also impact the ability of the Congress to manage regional satraps and regional players. BJP has been running successful coalition in states like Goa, Meghalaya and Bihar, showcasing its ability to snatch allies and run the government in states where it does not have the number. Lastly, the message would go out that BJP is down but not out and unlike them, Congress cannot manage political contradictions under Rahul Gandhi.
BJP did this with élan in Bihar. When they realised that Nitish Kumar could emerge as a fulcrum around whom the entire Opposition could come together, they ran away with the face itself. In a day, the Opposition lost its most acceptable face.
Such was the situation then that Congress would have found it very difficult not to support Nitish Kumar’s candidature as the Prime Minister in case elections threw a hung Parliament. If Congress does well in the Lok Sabha election, the credibility of Rahul Gandhi will get further solidified and depending on the number, Congress would project him as the Prime Ministerial candidate. Right now, Rahul Gandhi has emerged a challenger but not entirely in an avatar of acceptable Opposition leader.
In case of Karnataka, it will showcase the ability of the Congress to carry regional leaders with them. The occasional outburst of CM Kumarswamy should not be taken lightly. Even if he does not come out the alliance, he would definitely make the government end up looking weak and mismanaged. The only thing Congress can hope for is that prolonged interference results in negative political return where people start to see BJP as a disruptive force in the state.
On the other hand, Congress as an organization is also responsible for the crisis. Some of the MLAs have a running feud with sitting ministers. Local MLA Umesh Jadhav has a running feud with Priyang Kharge, minister in Karnataka government and son of Mallikarjun Kharge.
Similarly, Chikabalapur MLA Dr Sudhakar is also in the list of disgruntled lawmakers as certain of his local demands have not been met. Sum total of the Karnataka affair is that and political development in Karnataka will have a national impact. In Bihar, BJP was able to rob the face of an emerging coalition and in Karnataka they have the chance to discredit the idea of a coalition.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)