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10 reasons why Karnataka govt is in CRISIS

July 09, 2019 00:09 IST
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Syed Firdaus Ashraf lists 10 reasons why the BJP's Operation Lotus seems to have succeeded in Karnataka.

IMAGE: Dissident Janata Dal-Secular and Congress MLAs leave Raj Bhavan after meeting Karnataka Governor Vajuibhai Vala in Bengaluru last week. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI Photo

Ever since Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa resigned as Karnataka chief minister in May 2018 after he could not prove a majority on the floor of the state assembly, a restless Bharatiya Janata Party has tried every trick to see that the mandate given to the party by voters was established.

The BJP won 105 seats in the May 2018 assembly election, falling short by 8 MLAs to form the government.

After Yeddyurappa resigned, the Congress, which won 78 seats, and the Janata Dal-Secular with 37 MLAs formed a government.

The lone Bahujan Samaj Party MLA and an Independent MLA also supported the Congress-JD-S government.

The BJP termed the Congress-JD-S alliance as opportunistic, but the government -- headed by Hardanahalli Devegowda Kumaraswamy -- did not face a serious threat despite periodic resignations by Congress MLAs.

Now that at least 13 MLAs have resigned en masse, the Karnataka government risks losing its majority.

The BJP's Operation Lotus seems to have finally succeeded.


Here are 10 reasons why it happened"

1. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy

Kumaraswamy left for the United States in June on a private visit.

The journey was ill-timed. Kumaraswamy's father, former prime minister Hardanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda, had hinted in June that the Karnataka government would not last.

As leader of the coalition, Kumaraswamy should have stayed in Bengaluru and remained on top of the political situation.


2. The Congress in Karnataka

The Modi wave swept Karnataka in the Lok Sabha election. The Congress-JD-S alliance won just one Lok Sabha seat in the state.

Congress stalwart Mallikarjun Kharge and Deve Gowda were among the losers.

State Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao dissolved the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee and said it was time to give an opportunity to new leaders.

The first signs of rebellion were evident after MLA Roshan Baig spoke out against Dinesh Gundu Rao, former CM Siddaramaiah and Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal, blaming the trio for the party's Lok Sabha debacle in Karnataka.

Baig was expelled from the Congress on June 18.

His revolt was ignored by the Congress leadership in New Delhi, already convulsed by the tremors of Rahul Gandhi's resignation as party president.

No one in Delhi or Bengaluru sensed that the revolt would lead to a flurry of resignations and the likely end of the coalition government.


3. Dinesh Gundu Rao

When H D Kumaraswamy was abroad, what was KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao doing?

He was on holiday in London and did not return to Bengaluru even after Congress MLAs submitted resignation to the assembly speaker.

Congress leaders need to take a cue from BJP national President Amit Anilchandra Shah who has not gone abroad on holiday in 5 years.


4. Amit Shah

Karnataka was the first state where Shah, as BJP president, failed to form a government in spite of coming so close to a majority.

When that happened last year, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav told the Times Now channel, 'Don't worry, we have Amit Shah.'

Shah, it appeared, had then been outmanoeuvred by Congress strategist D K Shivakumar.

Shivakumar had earlier outmanoeuvred Shah by flying Gujarat Congress MLAs for 'safekeeping' in Bengaluru ahead of the Rajya Sabha election to ensure Ahmed Patel's victory.

But Shah knew the Congress-JD-S government was fragile and would not withstand BJP pressure after the parliamentary election results.

The Congress and Shivakumar underestimated Shah's ability to use every power at his disposal to bring Kumaraswamy's government down.


5. D K Shivakumar

Once the last man between the BJP's gambit and the Karnataka government's collapse, Shivakumar, it appears, has now thrown in the towel.

When the 13 rebel MLAs resigned, reducing Kumaraswamy's government to a minority, Shivakumar tore up their resignation letters in anger.

Unlike the past, when he met dissident MLAs and pacified them, he did no such thing this time.

Also, soon after handing in their resignations, the rebel MLAs traveled to Mumbai, out of Shivakumar's reach.


6. Rahul Gandhi

When 10 Congress MLAs resigned in Karnataka, no Congress leader was sent from Delhi to meet the legislators in Mumbai and defuse the crisis.

K C Venugopal -- the Congress general secretary in charge of Karnataka -- flew to Bengaluru, but it was too late.

Rahul Gandhi is still the Congress president -- unless his successor is chosen -- and should have led the way in countering the BJP's Operation Lotus.


7. Siddaramaiah

The former chief minister has a long history with the Deve Gowda family -- he was a JD-S leader till he quit the party in 2006 to join the Congress -- and was disgruntled by the way he was sidelined by the Kumaraswamy administration.

He also felt the Congress should have treated him better -- after all, the party did win 78 seats in the May 2018 assembly election under his leadership.

JD-S state president H Vishwanath and JD-S Minister G T Deve Gowda jousted constantly on Twitter and elsewhere with Siddaramaiah.

Interestingly, three rebel Congress MLAs say they will withdraw their resignations if Siddaramaiah is made chief minister.


8. Kunwar Danish Ali

Ali was the pointperson between the Congress and JD-S after the parties entered an alliance in May 2018.

But then he left the JD-S to join the Bahujan Samaj Party before the 2019 Lok Sabha election. He is one of the BSP's 10 Lok Sabha MPs from Uttar Pradesh.

Ali's steady presence could have calmed tempers and ensured a stable government.


9. K C Narayana Gowda

After resigning as a JD-S MLA, Narayana Gowda told the media that he was repeatedly humiliated by lady members of Deve Gowda's family.

He said he had brought this to both Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda's notice, but no action was taken.

Narayana Gowda and H Vishwanath said they resigned because they felt the government was not taking JD-S MLAs into confidence.


10. B S Yeddyurappa

'Are we sanyasis?' Yeddyurappa asked reporters after the current political crisis in Karnataka erupted.

At 76, BSY is determined that history does not remember him as a chief minister who resigned before a vote of confidence in the state assembly.

Twice, he tried to destabilise Kumaraswamy's government, but failed.

The BJP's Lok Sabha triumph in Karnataka gave the old warhorse another opportunity to bring down the Congress-JD-S government.

Will BSY get another shot to be chief minister? Or will Karnataka have a mid-term election?

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