Time has come for people of Karnataka to choose a Government of their choice after five years. The State Assembly elections are expected around May 2023, this year. The election is almost at our doorsteps though the Election Commission has not yet announced the calendar of events.
As expected, we see heightened resurgence of political activities from the three major political parties of our State, namely the Congress, BJP and JD(S). All the three parties seemed to be in an aggressive mode to defeat the other and capture power with absolute majority. It is obvious to all the three parties the handicap in forming alliances when no party gets absolute majority.
As we know, the present BJP Government itself was born as a result of the caesarian surgery on the Congress-JD(S) alliance Government (with H.D. Kumaraswamy of the JD-S as the Chief Minister). This alliance collapsed, it is perceived by some political pundits, at the altar of one Congress leader despite the alliance was formed as per the directions of the Congress High Command at Delhi which for its own reason, had turned a Nelson’s eye on the development ! During the coalition Government with H.D. Kumaraswamy of JD(S) as the CM, he was the head of the so-called ‘Samanvaya’ Committee to co-ordinate the two coalition party MLAs sans any political power.
A situation was created where those MLAs of the ruling coalition, who caused the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) alliance Government by resigning, should either get elected as BJP candidates in the by-election or the State should go for fresh elections. Fortunately for the people of Karnataka, BJP won and formed the Government. The Congress leader, who allegedly master-minded this political topsy-turvy, became the Leader of the Opposition enjoying the power and pelf that went with it.
Both the Congress High Command at Delhi and the JD(S) in Karnataka were left high and dry, lost in the limbo of this great political masterstroke that even Chanakya and Machiavelli would not have imagined, much less executed with such surgical precision. Let it be.
Looking at the aggressive way these three parties are working to influence and win voters, one gets the feeling the history of 2018 election may be repeated. But this time round the coalition would be between BJP and JD(S), with BJP forgiving (but not forgetting) the betrayal by JD(S) in the 2006 coalition Government where H.D. Kumaraswamy reneged and did not hand over CM’s post to BJP’s B.S. Yediyurappa as per their coalition agreement. In the words of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, H.D. Kumaraswamy simply did not follow the Coalition Dharma.
Well, this time, if a similar coalition becomes inevitable the BJP might claim to have its candidate to be the CM during the first half and thereafter the JD(S). Those who do not learn lessons from the past history are bound to repeat it and perish. BJP has indeed learnt its lessons. Looking at the way BJP under the triumvirate — Modi, Shah and Nadda — formed the Governments in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, it would succeed in Karnataka in case of a fragmented mandate. Therefore, the answer to the question, ‘Who next in Karnataka?’ the answer is BJP. This answer is based on the ground reality as it exists today with the ruling party BJP doling out sops and the Opposition Congress and JD(S), promising similar sops — freebies, money, concessions, commissions etc.
Mahatma Gandhi said that politics without principles is a sin. Sadly today we find all the politicians swimming in the cesspool of sin. Sin and win. Winning is the mantra. Winning by means fair or foul. Win at any cost. After all, the world belongs to the winner. In Democracy, elections are held not on the hallowed principle of Olympic Games which says that what is important is not to win but to participate. But fighting well is very essential. Likewise, if we want to secure our Democracy, then we must ensure that our electoral politics is rooted on the sublime principles enunciated in the Olympic Games. One of its heads had rightly said that “In all times of our distress, and in our triumphs too, the game is more than the players of the game and the ship is more than the crew.” Therefore, like the game and the ship, Democracy (that guarantees liberty, equality and fraternity among all the people) must be considered as more than the political parties and politicians and the people should vote with responsibility even while succumbing to corruption.
Our Democracy was described in the early sixties by Prof. John Kenneth Galbraith, the American Ambassador in India, as a ‘functioning anarchy.’ It continues to be so even in this 75th year of our freedom. So the question arises whether we are properly represented by deserving people — MPs and MLAs. David Selbourne, British political philosopher and a journalist says, ‘Indians may have a vote but they are not represented.’ Let us hope that this reality is reversed in the future elections and every Indian is thus well represented.
Our Constitution grants voting right to all adult citizens. It is called universal adult franchise where even a daily wage earner with no property, education and shelter has a right to vote and choose his representative, the ruler. Only those who, for reasons, are declared by law as barred from voting, cannot vote.
By casting vote people express their will and the will of the people is the basis for the authority of a Government. In Democracy, election is the battleground where the contending political parties fight to establish their authority to form a Government and rule the people. Therefore, it is important to vote for a candidate who is more interested in public service than in private gain.
In the past, we have seen adult franchise making our Democracy dependant on money and crime, on religion and caste. It is so even today. We have seen politicians taking advantage of poverty and religion of adults from the poor sections of the people. Election Commission seems unable to remedy this evil, so also the existing laws of the land. This evil found its fertile ground in 1969 when Indira Gandhi split the Congress and the roots of election malpractices spread deep and wide. Since then this evil has manifested itself in a variety of forms — crony capitalism, telephone tapping, bribing the voters, intimidation and even violence. A new political culture sat pretty over Indian Democracy and India’s development suffered giving room to social disharmony.
Therefore, we the voters of India are warned. One vote has one value, but it is an invaluable vote that will decide the voter’s and country’s destiny and future. It is also a secret vote. That should give the voter the courage and confidence to give his vote to a good candidate irrespective of his caste, creed, wealth or even the political party. If the voter is a supporter of a political party but the candidate of that party is unworthy, then the voter must choose either NOTA (None Of The Above) by pressing the NOTA button or choose the best among the rest irrespective of the party. Only then political parties will give tickets to deserving persons to contest the poll.
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