…And the winner loses

By making H.D Kumaraswamy the CM of Karnataka Congress must have defeated Modi-Shah, but have they betrayed their Voters?

The scenario: Karnataka BJP came through as the single largest party with 104 assembly seats with 36.2% vote share. Congress with 78 seats and 38.0% vote share and JD(S)+ with 38 seats and 18.6% vote share. People gave a fractured mandate. BJP celebrated the hope of forming new Government in Karnataka (The first in South India) and Modi-Shah’s clarion call of ‘Congress Mukth Bharat’. Congress and JDS had different plans though; they pulled the rug from under BJP by forming a post-poll alliance and announcing Kumaraswamy as their CM candidate.

Comes in the Governor: As usual, rules were bent, democracy compromised and the Governor refused to meet the post-poll allies, instead, the single largest party was invited to form the government and prove their majority in the floor of the house within 13 days of swearing in. Yeddyurappa took the oath of office. Congress and JDS cried foul and moved the court. Supreme Court ordered BJP government to show majority on the floor of the house within 24 hours. BJP didn’t get enough time to lure defectors. Yeddyurappa resigned… and went on to become the first “One Day” Chief Minister of Karnataka.

A pre-planned strategy: Unlike what’s been popularly perceived, this writer has reasons to believe that JD(S)-Congress alliance was not an instant decision, but a premeditated one. JDS’s smoke and mirrors allowed media to think that Kumaraswamy was flirting with BJP and would even form a post-poll alliance with them. Possibly they even gave BJP that impression. But the truth was otherwise, JD(S) didn’t want to show an affinity towards Congress and spoil their chances with the anti-incumbency that was effecting Congress neither could they tango with BJP and face the wrath of Muslims and Dalit voters. So the strategy was to keep equidistance from both Congress and BJP and right after the polls form an alliance with the Congress. The Gowda’s were certain that together with the Congress they would be in a position to form the government. Anything above 100 seats for Congress would see a Congress CM and JDS deputy CM and anything below 100 would see Kumaraswamy on the throne. Things worked as per plan.

Denouement: What this ‘Partners of convenience’ didn’t envisage is that BJP and Yeddyurappa got the ‘victims’ benefit and has earned tremendous public sympathy. People of Karnataka, especially the urban voters, the bulk of who voted for the Congress, did not want Kumaraswamy as their CM. Kumaraswamy is now forced on Karnataka by the Congress and Congress will definitely pay for it. Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy are bitter adversaries; this animosity will affect the alliance and more importantly the government.

Public sympathy coupled with bad governance by unnatural allies will ensure overwhelming public support for BJP and possible anti-Congress votes in 2019 General Elections.

Then was all of this worth the trouble Rahul?

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