Friday, January 20, 2006

Rumblings in Karnataka

The ‘saddest day’ in the life of India’s 11th prime minister and Karnataka Vokkaliga strongman, H D Deve Gowda, came as an answer to the BJP’s prayers. Deve Gowda's insistence on keeping out 'communal forces' had denied the BJP its first taste of power in south India, though it emerged the single largest party in the Karnataka Assembly elections in 2004. But it was always known that the inherent factionalism within Gowda's Janata Dal (Secular) would one day allow the BJP to claim hitherto unconquered territory.

Gowda’s ambitious son, H D Kumaraswamy, has ditched his father and the Congress-led coalition in the State. It is reportedly against his father’s wishes that Kumaraswamy set out to be the chief minister for the next 20 months with the support of the BJP. Which also means the BJP has to wait some more before it tastes real power. For the time being, it would be satisfied with the deputy chief minister's post and the fact that it managed to topple a Congress government.

The Congress-JD (S) coalition equilibrium was unsettled a year ago when Kumaraswamy’ s ambition resulted in the expulsion of Siddaramaiah, a popular backward classes leader and deputy chief minister. Somehow, both Deve Gowda and Dharam Singh were caught napping during the entire course of the current crisis. For the State BJP too, the turmoil could sharpen the ongoing power struggle between H N Ananth Kumar, national General Secretary, and B S Yediyurappa, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. The swift rise in the party echelons of Ananth Kumar, who is seen as an L K Advani protege and a hard-liner, has been a source of resentment for the older leadership represented by Yediyurappa. The Siddaramaiah crisis saw Yediyurappa threatening to break away with a group of MLAs to form an alternate government with the JD (S).

The basic question that will continue to haunt Karnataka politics is: who will get the post of the Chief Minister. Individual ambitions in all parties are too intense to be ignored. While political realignments are still in a state of flux, the State and its people, and the booming IT industry in particular, would be watching further developments with considerable unease.


Medha Purandare said...

Anybody conquering PM's post, Bangalore are in need of peace,pollution free roads without potholes and most important perfect law and order in City. Once a Garden City, now IT centre needs balanced development.

Suby said...

Kumaraswamy's action convey in more than one ways that he lacks even the tiniest amount of ethics, leave alone an idealogy - that too the one flaunted by the Big G.
JD(Secular) aligning with BJP is like marrying a 16yr virgin to a Rapist !!
My dear Kannadigas, brace yourself - for the worst is to come, very soon.