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Political drama that unfolds in Karnataka

Political drama that unfolds in Karnataka
Highlights

Trouble for Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy has been brewing since long In fact, discordant voices gave room for suspicion from day one of the new government because of the Lingayat factor

Trouble for Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy has been brewing since long. In fact, discordant voices gave room for suspicion from day one of the new government because of the Lingayat factor.

There were enough speculations and enough drama in the beginning. Even when it was all over and the coalition government came into being, it was always doubtful whether it would last the full term. By the second week of January, Karnataka’s coalition government’s worst fears had manifested, after three influential Congress MLAs were found in a Mumbai hotel with BJP leaders. From there, the situation escalated quickly. It became clear that the BJP was trying to poach MLAs through these three leaders.

The next two days, panic-stricken leaders went into a damage control mode to stop defections. For the BJP, this was their big push before the Lok Sabha elections. Breaking the JD(S)-Congress alliance is crucial for the BJP to retain their lead in Lok Sabha, and for BJP State president BS Yeddyurappa, it is also his last chance to be Chief Minister. The poaching process got to be soon dubbed as ‘Operation Lotus’ by the media. The Congress machinery has been working overtime to bring the situation under control ever since and Kumaraswamy continues to have sleepless nights to the glee of both Siddaramaiah and B S Yeddyurappa.

The Congress's failure to curb the enthusiasm of some of its MLAs' is notable. However, sometimes it also sounds as if it wants to run the edgy script for more time to test the patience of Kumaraswamy. It is now clear that either the Congress does not like the coalition arrangement, or it is that Kumaraswamy wants to break it. Perhaps the latter wants to play along for some more time till his father and former Prime Minister, Deve Gowda clears any breaking away.

The coalition government that brought Kumaraswamy into power again was because of the largesse of the Congress. That Rahul decided to keep the BJP out of power was evident with the move despite having had to make such a huge sacrifice. Thereby he had also scripted a new meaning of the coalition dharma instead of playing dirty politics. It was not a conditional offer at all. And there is no need for Kumaraswamy to be disturbed at all by it. He knows the history of the Congress as well.

Whether the Congress is a changed party or not is to be seen under Rahul Gandhi. Yet, if Kumaraswamy is complaining about it, it sounds strange. This government has to go one day or the other. It may be legitimate, but it has no moral right to be in place. But, when did Kumaraswamy or Deve Gowda display moral traits?

The 2018 Assembly elections had reshuffled power dynamics in Karnataka politics. Internally there is some trouble within the Congress here. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who had failed to secure a win for the party, found himself side-lined in the new government. But Siddaramaiah has a strong set of followers within the party, including highly influential Jarkiholi brothers Ramesh and Satish and that is double trouble for Kumaraswamy.

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