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Political Chicanery

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A dozen Congress and JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka have submitted their resignations, and some more are expected to similarly quit in the near future. This has thrown the state’s coalition government into crisis, as it may lose its majority in the Assembly. Similar rumblings are also being heard in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It would seem that the BJP’s agenda of a Congress free India is continuing on its own steam. It would help if the fundamental principles of parliamentary democracy were followed by those in the opposition. There is no point in accusing the BJP of undermining democracy when their practice of politics in power remains as self-serving as ever. If there was not so much emphasis on forming a government and enjoying the fruits of power, the people would be better served. Parties forget in particular that it is possible to have minority governments in the Westminster system, obtaining issue-based support from the House. This is difficult to do, because it requires high quality politics. Had the JD(S) not been so hungry for power, it could have wielded far greater influence by extending support from outside to either the BJP or Congress. Unfortunately, as everybody knows, it is not so much the public good that is in the politician’s mind as the spoils of being part of the government, no matter for how short a while. Quite obviously, Karnataka’s rebellious MLAs are disgruntled at not getting their ‘fair’ share of being in power. The inner struggle, with Congress leader and former CM Siddaramaiah wishing to return to the chair, once again, is a cause for further instability. The BJP is watching like a hawk, ready to swoop in at the appropriate time. As for the JD(S), Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has been uncomfortable from the start with Congress support, which has come with many riders. There is no doubt that the regional parties are becoming more of a threatened species in states where either or both of the two ‘national’ parties have a substantial presence. Political horse-trading and other kinds of chicanery cannot ensure their survival. Only strict adherence to a clear-cut (and necessary) ideology with total rejection of opportunistic politics can ensure survival. Uttarakhand’s UKD, for instance, has declined to almost a non-entity for its eagerness to tie-up with whoever comes to power. This has meant that the smaller causes which could have been represented have ended up silenced. Politicians must become smart enough to realise that the voters have become smarter.