By T.J.S. George
Here is what the Buddha said about Karnataka elections:
“There are many difficulties to overcome in this world. It is hard for a proud man to learn the way of enlightenment. It is hard not to argue about right and wrong. It is hard to find a good method. It is hard to keep the mind pure against the instincts of the body. It is hard not to desire beautiful things. It is hard for a strong man not to use his strength to satisfy his desires.”
The Strong Man heading The Strong Party used all his strength to make things move his way. There were serial IT raids on “Congress moneybags,” even a last-minute raid on a resort in Badami where Congressmen heading Siddharamaiah’s campaign were lodged. The Central Government’s partisan role reached an absurd limit when Congress MLAs headed for Kochi found that civil aviation authorities would not permit their flight to take off. How childish can arrogance get.
Misuse of power is a badge of the arrogant. Here is what the Vishnu Purana said about Karnataka elections:
“And then there will be a decline in prosperity and dharma and the whole earth shall slowly perish. The one who has wealth shall rule. The one who wears a false mask shall be honoured. The one who is greedy shall be king. And weary of misrule, the people shall hide in dark caves and wait for their days of misery to end.”
The ones who had wealth have been ruling in solitary splendour since the demonetisation of the beloved rupee. It enabled them to wear a false mask and win honours. They became kings who ruled over the dispensers of justice as well. But the men of justice, reared in a different kind of discipline, had a tendency to show their mettle now and again.
It was left to them to expose Karnataka’s RSS Governor. The man had ignored his oath to the Constitution and given the BJP, the party without a majority, an unheard-of 15 days to purchase a majority. That was 15 days to buy and sell horses; 15 days for Central Government agencies to raid and intimidate MLAs; 15 days to flaunt Rs.100-crore baits (or was it 200 crore?) The farce decreed by the gubernotorious swayam sevak made the men of justice go into action. They decreed that the party with no majority must test the floor in two days instead of 15. That turned out to be the decisive factor in what was becoming a travesty of electoral democracy in Karnataka; it stopped the politicians from playing a cheating game.
There were missing MLAs, absconding MLAs, double-crossing MLAs. And then there were MLAs who were discovered, MLAs who were retrieved, MLAs who were captured. Here is what Kautilya said about Karnataka elections:
“Just as fish moving inside water cannot be seen drinking water, so officers of the State [politicians] cannot be seen appropriating money. It is possible to know the paths of birds in the sky, but not the ways of [politicians] with their intentions concealed. A wise king should guard others from others, his own people from his own people, his own people from others, and others from his own people, and always guard himself from his own people and from others.”
Now that people are kings, how do we guard ourselves from our own people and from others? Some imperatives arise from factors which now stand proved by the dramatic twists in Karnataka.
- The BJP juggernaut is not unstoppable.
- The juggernaut needs to be stopped because it is splitting people along communal lines and institutionalising a culture of everyday violence in the name of what people should eat, say, study and think. India is too diverse a society to survive as a monolithic entity.
- The Congress has neither the leadership nor the infrastructure to stand on its own legs.
- A combination of regional parties and the Congress is the way forward. The Congress-JD(S) union that has gained traction in Karnataka must expand and multiply across the country, with common development programmes that will avoid politics of hatred and intimidation.
- And for starters, can we bring the institutions that have sustained our democracy back to their wonted glory — the judiciary, the civil service, the CBI, the Election Commission?
Steps like these would start giving hope to the people hiding in dark caves waiting for their days of misery to end.
Meanwhile, Jai Hind!