Let people decide

The riotous scenes witnessed in the Karnataka Assembly and outside on Monday have taken the politics in the state to a new low, if that were possible. The rowdy behaviour of the legislators was shameful enough, but two Constitutionally-mandated personalities who failed in their duties, the incompetent, bumbling Speaker and the partisan governor who has not been able to rise above party politics, have contributed to the mess. The claim of the government to have won the trust vote stands devalued by the circumstances under which the Speaker conducted the voice vote. Yeddyurappa lost a great opportunity to puncture the claims of the rebels and their backers in the opposition parties that the government had lost the majority. If only the confidence vote had been conducted impartially and transparently, the state would have known the veracity of the conflicting claims of the opposition, the government, and of course, the governor. Now, we will never know.

For once, Yeddyurappa forgot a lesson of the recent history. The BJP stormed into power in the state on the strength of popular sympathy for him in the aftermath of the JD(S) denying him a shot at chief ministership. Such was the power of a tsunami of sympathy that the BJP was able to smash Congress bastions. But in its 28-month regime, the BJP has done everything to lose that goodwill. An inept and callous government machinery, fratricidal warfare for power and pelf, rampant corruption and unbridled casteism, all these have destroyed the government’s image. The electorate, by now inure to the shenanigans of the ruling party was tending to become apathetic and cynical. A cleverer politician than Yeddyurappa would have used the trust vote to manipulate the public emotions. A clean victory in the trust vote would have silenced critics and raised the government’s credibility. A defeat would have secured it public sympathy. But Monday’s events have sullied the government even more. Its credibility is at an all time low.
In that backdrop, the governor’s alacrity in recommending President’s rule may not net him many plaudits, but it is a move that needs to be considered than dismissed out of hand as partisan. The sullied trust vote, the likelihood of increase in horse-trading in the coming days and the erosion of the government’s moral authority call for only one way out the current political imbroglio — dissolution of the Assembly followed by a fresh election to the Assembly at the earliest, however much the frequent elections are undesirable.

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