Karnataka is not far behind, in politics manipulative skill pays too, in usurping power

SK Singh *

The developments in the NER in March this year in the arena of formation of governments are at their height in the art of political manipulation. The BJP turned out to be the champion in the deal in Meghalaya, an avatar of the most sinister evolution of political usurping ever in the country by sheer maneuvering of an alliance.

Earlier too they demonstrated entrepreneurial skill of the sharpest order in manufacturing 'victory' in forming government in Goa and later in Manipur. Of course, ones failure to strike a deal invariably leads to other's gain; somewhat similar to the theory of Physics, 'heat lost is equal to heat gained'.

In Meghalaya BJP might have won just two seats out of a total of sixty, but it almost ended up being the 'hero' of the ministry formation; dictating terms in coalition with regional parties, United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP), People's Democratic Front (PDF).

The Congress which bagged 21 seats needing just 10 additional to form government, was beaten by the BJP managing a measly 2 seats and yet forming government that too dictating terms. What could be more sinister an act than this in political manipulation?

If the Congress charged, "BJP usurped power by proxy", nothing could be truer than this assertion. What kinds of 'mantras' could have been mustered by the BJP is anybody's guess; one thing however is sure that they must have created an opportunistic alliance by whatever avenues that lay wide and open in politics. If Rahul equated the entire phenomenon with 'Democracy Demonetized', one cannot perhaps point an accusing finger to Rahul, if not clap.

The accepted practice of undue freebies, favors, which can only be classified as cheap enticement measures have become the order of the day in politics these days. If a government subsidizes rice, cocking gas or the like which can safely be counted as top basic ingredients for the masses, it is ok.

How does one rate such freebies like free smart phones so also laptops for BPL women, gold and Re 25,000 for BPL women getting married? The promises of free trips to China for farmers again are suspect if the intention is not about its merit for welfare or coercing voters.

This reminds us of the similar promises of free trip to Jerusalem for people of Nagaland on the eve of the recent assembly elections only couple of months back. These are part of the election manifesto of the BJP, entitled, "Namma Karnatakakke Namma Vachana", (Our promise to Our Karnataka).

The Congress cannot be termed as too far behind, though their focus can be described as bordering on facets of development, like, promise of investing Re 1.5 lakh crore exclusively on 'irrigation' sector in a span of five years. It doesn't sound cheap freebies to individuals or sectors of the populace.

Its promise for waiving loans up to one lakh rupees per person from either nationalized or cooperative banks can be too categorized as a welfare measure for the farmer community. Their promise though for such waiving of loans from only cooperative banks in politically crucial constituencies can also be an attractive measure to woo farmers as their loan principal would come down irrespective of which party forms the government.

The essence of politics has been transformed from 'harmony' to 'hate', from 'coexistence' to 'polarization'. The politics of hate is most vividly seen in Mangaluru, a coastal region with sparkling backwater laced with swaying palms. This picturesque region once a home for religious co-existence is likely to be beset with politics of religious polarization.

The city based Karnataka Forum for Communal Harmony, in its report talks about ever increasing politically motivated religious polarization. From 73 communal incidents in 2010, it peaked up to 228 in a span of five years then. 2017 was relatively stable at 125 such incidents though it was near double of such cases in 2010. The situation is alarming now when BJP joined the forces.

Churches, temples and mosques mark Mangaluru's skyline in the midst of simmering tension as church bells, aarti and azzan are heard amidst each other's din. In all proportions this time around the election cry is symbolic of a pitch between 'hate vs. harmony'.

Personal attacks have been used luxuriously in all conceivable forms in the campaigns. This has become a trend and forms an accepted modus-operandi. Only the other day in a rally at Gadag Modi in his characteristic charisma peeped Rahul by renaming Congress as PPP Congress.

The 'PPP' terminology turned out only to be 'Punjab, Puducherry, Parivar'. Incidentally Congress now forms government only in Punjab and Puducherry and Modi was only trying to make fun of the matter to the amusement of the listeners.

The fact remains that Modi has a strong background team of people in his PMO who are masters in coining such attention-catching terms like PPP this time and even earlier another term, 'TOP' in his message of taking care of the farmer community in Karnataka. TOP incidentally was to mean 'Tomato, Onion, Potato' hinting at the select three items farmers are engaged and indispensable for the masses.

All said and done the D-day has arrived. The results of the several rounds of attacks and counter attacks are already public. The exit polls, several of them had forecasted Congress to have a slight tilt over BJP while a few others hinted at BJP securing more than the Congress. BJP comes out triumphant with a thumping hand much better than in 2013 and naturally therefore a down-slide for the Congress with JD(S) even faring better than predicted difference.

In the result, the third party JD(S) though at its lowest arithmetic of 40 in a poll of 222 seats would be turning out to be the absolute power broker, the traditional 'king maker'. A desperate Congress is determined to play second fiddle in its lust for keeping BJP out.

They have even left the choice of CM to JD(S). This inevitable scenario was so clear even before the results were out; the CM candidate of JD(S) S. Kumaraswamy, the son of Dev Gowda; President of JD(S) darted to Singapore with his select political confidents for so called 'political consultation'. In the long run he is likely to the greatest winner though has been in the backroom of all these month-long campaign. And this is what is commonly known as 'politics'.

It turns out that the PPP approach of the BJP has paid. Not satisfied with the ultimate settlement with Congress forming government the BJP has plans to offer counter-offer to JD(S) with more attractive terms. In whatever way one may look at the whole scenario, one thing is crystal clear that the BJP has succeeded in intruding the southern states, once a persona-non-grata, after setting foot in the NER. This day, it holds sway in 22 states out of 29 and is all set for a thunderous march to the 2019 Parliamentary elections.

* SK Singh wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on May 16, 2018.

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