Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Karnataka quagmire

The drama surrounding the refusal of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to hand over power to the BJP is old news. That, in itself , was betrayal of an agreement in my opinion. But what has happened since the state came under President's Rule on October 9, goes beyond all expectations. Not that I believed that our politicians had any morals in the first place, but the actions of the Janata Dal (S) and the BJP in the state really take the cake. First, a state Chief Minister back down from a very public agreement to transfer power to his coalition partners. Then, the father of the said CM, who also happens to be the chief of the Party and a former Prime Minister of the country says it was a sin to have ever entered into a power-sharing agreement with a "communal" party. You see, he did not know, at that time, that the BJP was communal. He vows his support to the minority communities and promises not to let a power-hungry "fascist" party take power in the state. In the meantime, he tries to broker a deal with other parties to try and get his son back on the Chief Minister's chair. All attempts fail and the state comes under Central rule.

Barely two weeks later, we learn that the said "communal" and "fascist" party and the "secular" one are bedfellows again. The leaders are seen shaking hands and hugging one another in public. They all troop to the Governor of the state to try and convince him to invite them to form a government. The Governor, being answerable to the Central Government, asks for a couple of days to decide. Impatient with the delay, the "fascists" threaten to take to the streets, in an attempt to force the Governor's hand. As if this is not enough, the president of the "secular" party's state unit calls it "a murder of democracy."

Of course, it's a murder of democracy. It is not murder when two parties that contested one another in the election join hands in an unholy alliance, simply because they want power. And, it is not murder when one of the two parties backtracks on a public commitment and calls it's ally a fascist. It is definitely not murder when suddenly, driven by a desire to seize power, the two adversaries reach a compromise and go back to the Governor to get their power back. Neither is it murder when the two parties, terrified of facing a mid-term election shower praises on the ally they slandered barely 2 weeks ago. But, of course, the refusal of a state Governor to take a decision without first consulting the Centre on it is a murder of democracy. But of course!

Is this what we wanted when we elected our government? What does the average Indian voter do when he/she votes to throw a government out simply to realise that the government will be back in power anyway with the help of the same people they slandered not 2 weeks ago? Are we really living in a democracy? Do we, as voters, actually have a choice? Or are we being asked to choose between the Devil and the deep blue sea? I only have questions. And no answers.

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