Kar nautanki – Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018
Karnataka, the biggest state (electorally and GDP wise) in the Indian Union that is still with the Congress is going to the polls today. The results are to be announced on May 15. The Exit Polls promised by the media at 5 pm today are eagerly awaited.
Most of the elections in the past few years have been hi-decibel ones. But this State Assembly election is extra special. It is the last/ major poll battle before the National General Elections scheduled in 2019 rolls in.
The BJP meanwhile has transitioned India from a (Indira) Gandhi fiefdom to one which has seen the benefit of more meaningful ‘inner-party democracy’ oriented party functioning. Despite the challenges/ suffering in major policy initiatives undertaken (like Demonetization), the BJP has been voted to power in most of the state elections. Congress meanwhile has been limping from one defeat to another. Perhaps the biggest harm it could have done for itself (and Indian democracy) has been ‘crowning’ the dynasty scion, Mr Rahul Gandhi as its Leader, without any serious soul-searching. India sadly and badly, needs a strong opposition to ensure that no party gets drunk on power.
In Karnataka, the BJP has not done much to walk the talk by continuing to ride on Mr Yeddyurappa (a Lingayat), who is seen as corrupt and self-centered. Karnataka also has a history of going against the party in the Centre while choosing its State Government. These points could make Mr Deve Gowda a critical ally post elections. The Congress proved its Secular credentials hollow by trying to divide the Hindu Vote-bank. Its attempt to woo the Lingayat community may not be enough for it to win the Karnataka Chair at least on its own.
As this post is getting written, there are footages of voters being paid money outside voting booths. Both the Congress and the BJP have been accused of encouraging this. Hope the Election Commission / Executive/ Legislative takes cognisance of the massive irregularities that political parties are capable of and takes appropriate measures to prevent/ minimize recurrence.
In ending, whether the KarNautanki is the ‘dance of democracy’ / nautanki or a puppetry show, the next few days will reveal who the master Puppeteer is.