Karnataka experiment as a trendsetter?

Shiban Khaibri
At the outset, It is an admitted fact that Congress won the Karnataka Assembly elections and the BJP lost – much against the general expectations and rather, to utter bewilderment of many people not only of Karnataka but of many parts across the country. Achieving success by employing whichever means, prima facia, is a success – other things remaining the same. Whatever transpires later or comes to the fore cogently cannot be sidelined nor ignored either. Hence a critical analysis of Karnataka elections is necessary as these elections were special ,contested intensely but laced with inelastic standards of desirable democratic norms . Not only that , various endowments and factors too got cobbled by the main opposition party to score a win , on the other hand – the Prime Minister who worked hardest and campaigned on the issues of development and eradication of corruption was more or less unfortunately humbled and rejected by the people . The ”people” herein means beyond the BJP’s traditional vote share . It is this factor of “the people” who made an experiment and succeeded to build up a trend setter for 2024 general elections to defeat Modi Ji. Can these ones really succeed in that mission ? Can these people be allowed to succeed in that mission as we find no cogent reason to replace Modi so earnestly although no one is indispensible? Why to be so much obsessed by the ”need” of opposition getting combined as one entity with only and only aim of defeating Narendra Modi . This type of scenario, presently under process, cannot be taken just lightly as the question arises as to why so much hate and prejudice against PM Modi when the country is peacefully marching ahead , undergoing fast development and transformation under his leadership and even the international community is applauding the role of his qualities and statesmanship. More points and issues sprout which call for proper analysis and appraisal.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in highest traditions of democratic values, lost no time in saying “congratulations to the Congress Party for their victory in the Karnataka Assembly polls – my best wishes to them in fulfilling people’s aspirations .” This message came from the PM shortly after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi thanked the people of Karnataka for “shutting down the market of hate” and ”opening the shop of love”. The so called market of hate, however, is as elusive , confusing , misleading and fraught with catering to the psyche of forces believing in and employing the doctrine of religious identity and communal politics as it is an open encouragement to oppose anything that is needed for parity and equality between different sections of the society so as to have oneness and fast development of this country. It is also and mainly so against slight revival of this country’s ancient cultural identity and traditions with which are associated Hindus of this country , and faint traces of the renaissance thereof taking place . That is a stark fact and in veiled form that is what is most unfortunately referred to as “hate politics” , “divisive politics” and being against the ”diversity ” of this country. Recall while participating in no confidence motion against Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Congress leader and PM late P.V. Narasimha Rao had started his speech with ”fortunately or unfortunately India is a Hindu majority country” … What was there to say ”unfortunately” is as disgusting as it denotes the peculiar secular policies of the Congress particularly related to Hindus who very broadmindedly opted for a secular set up and not for a theocratic Hindu state in 1947 taking cue from and in response to how , why and what for Pakistan was created. That great political and historical fact is conveniently ignored .
Therefore, so called opening of the shop of love in Karnataka is like the new fancy clothes and embroidered drapes of the emperor who, in fact, never wore any but his courtiers resorting to cheap sycophancy, were projecting and feigning all types of accolades for the maker of those royal accoutres for him to make him ”look” so much conspicuously special with wearing ”the best” in the land. Karnataka factor, when analysed deeply, reveals more than what meets the eye which is far beyond strengthening values and considerations considered healthy for democracy and the country at large. The experiment is a partial success but cannot be considered as a trendsetter for 2024 elections. Analysts predict that BJP’s defeat shall prove a blessing in disguise.
However, Why did not Modi Ji complain about the usual whipping boy , targeted always by the vanquished side in this country – EVMs manipulated – as he and his party lost Karnataka Assembly elections , is very important . Put it in reverse perspective , viz had Congress lost and the BJP won , much of hullabaloo would have been around and all constituents of the Nitish Kumar conceived and built “Gathbandhan” would have been up in arms against the entire election process. So, as long non-BJP parties win elections albeit the EVM mode , everything is fine and EVMs are the best but not when it is the obverse . The question or the doubt that how can the government in power complain about the EVMs must be countered with – why not ? That is precisely because Election Commission is an independent constitutional body under Article 324 and as much independent ,strong, impartial and autonomous for the opposition as it is for the government in power. Thank providence and thank the rich returns of the appeasement policy , generating much fear and hate for the BJP during campaigning and promising people the moon etc in return of voting to power, that the EVMs this time, proved their innocence , chastity and unblemished built in characteristics. Hell would have otherwise broken loose in case the BJP would have won.
Did Karnataka people really distance themselves from the ”poison” and the ”serpent” ( the extent of fear planted in them) or were lured by promise of freebies and largesse or both, needs to be analysed . Also did the repeated tirade by the Congress party of ” the BJP doing , Hindu -Muslim, Hindu- Muslim and being anti Muslims…” and aligning with forces and ideologies who immediately somehow wanted to ”get rid” of the dangerous , communal and divisive BJP and, therefore, wholesomely vote for the Congress, succeed ? What was the trend of community wise vote share, as a result, needs also to be analysed.
At the outset, there should have been no considerations of going in for community wise, caste wise, religion wise, region wise etc for analysis but all these 72 years, Indian politics has very unfortunately sustained and revolved around the axis of religion- – majority, minority, caste, sub caste, backward castes, atti backward castes, forward castes etc etc hence lavish and intense use thereof in elections. That is unhealthy and unfortunate. It has, therefore, assumed the status of an irreversible established norm and an unwritten tradition. Therefore, it needs to be appraised and analysed accordingly. The traditional vote share of the BJP despite the voters of majority community not coming out for voting cent percent unlike other communities , has more or less remained the same . Last time with 36.2% it bagged 104 seats and now with 35.8% it won only 65 seats , why and how? Should less than 1 % play such a havoc ? The king Maker JD(s) lost 18 seats as compared to 18.36% vote share when it had won 37 seats last time to 19 seats this time with 13.3% . So a fall or shift of 5% to Congress Party plus less than 1% of the BJP resulted in the win of the Congress. Who overwhelmingly and under a planning decided to adopt this strategy and why and how with such a precision, though fairly surfaced, raises many questions although the verdict and the choice of the people is supreme in democracy. However, the revelations and thus demands of Muslim Waqf Board Chief Shafi Sadi cannot be ignored . He demanded a Muslim Dy. CM plus plum five ministries including Home and Education headed by Muslims on quid pro quo basis claiming 72 seats’ net gain to Congress and “Jo diya hai , badley main kuch lena bhi hai ” and “Congress should thank us” – all spills enough beans.
On the other hand , promise of free electricity up to 200 units , free 10 kgs ration to every member of the family every month , Rs.2000 to every woman , again every month, Rs.3000 to every unemployed graduate and Rs.1500 to every unemployed Diploma Holder , free travel in buses for women, 500 litres of tax free diesel annually for deep sea fishing, Rs.6000 to all marine fishermen during fishing holidays etc etc. promises by Congress has also worked. Just calculate cost of only two items – cash payments and power subsidy – it costs Rs.63000 Crore a year more than 22% of the state budget while the state has a fiscal deficit of Rs.61000 crore. Wishing best luck to the prospective beneficiaries of these freebies but they should get a feedback from Himachal Pradesh in this respect as well.
Immediately after winning by Congress, most of the photos and symbols of Bajrangi Baba were reportedly removed from various spots where those were raised in the state exposing those who feigned reverential faith in him as, such Netas are called as “Chunavi Bhakts”. Meanwhile, Maulana Arshad Madani recently has cautioned Congress to immediately ban Bajrang Dal as promised otherwise the ”trust ” will be broken . He has wondered as to why the Congress did not ban it 70 years ago although the Dal was formed only in late 1984. Needless to add, Congress must fulfil its poll promises now and create an example of its own kind in translating into practice what it says and promises. Let poll prospects and sound economic considerations be at total ”cross roads” and clash too inter-se but keeping in consideration the bigger goal , the grand agenda of the Ghatbandhan for 2024 , everything is “fair and proper” for it. People , however, are to put final stamp of acquiesce and agreement or total rejection and refusal as they are supreme in our democratic set-up.