The grand 'Nataka': 101 ways to save a government

The grand 'Nataka': 101 ways to save a government

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy during the Assembly Session. Photo credit: PTI

The ongoing Karnataka crisis is a battle between contrasting parties - the confident BJP and the 'down but still not out' Congress-JD(S) government led by HD Kumaraswamy. And the latter has shown numerous ways to postpone certain defeat and search for victory in face of severe adversity. It's food for thought for Sandeep Maheshwari and his followers, who are looking for a new dose of inspiration.

In childhood, almost everyone has resorted to the tactic of making excuses to evade a teacher's punishment for incomplete homework. From "My grandfather was ill" to "I was down with high fever", the excuse repertoire had a wide variety to save onself. Shift to sports like cricket or football and one will witness players carrying childhood traits with aplomb. A gentle tackle in football will make someone clutch the knees in intense agony (while keeping an eye on the clock), or in Test cricket, with players trying to evoke the umpire's humane nature by presenting bad light (and consequent eyesight problem) as the reason to close for the day.

Therefore, it may be natural that the Congress-JD(S) coalition would take help from childhood memories and sports anecdotes to stage an improbable comeback in a bid to save the government. All they had to do was confuse the Speaker, at times the Governor, (and even viewers, who looked at the whole fiasco like a mathematical formula designed for Chandrayaan 2).

The coalition squad experimented with all the ammunition in their arsenal. They protested about their right to whip (not literally), or in other words, their right to ban the MLAs. They vehemently wanted to know about how they could exercise their right to ban the disgruntled ministers who left the party and vowed never to return while contemplating their next move at some luxurious resort.

The Congress-JD(S) coalition then decided to extend the length of the whip, under the expert guidance of 'half-lawyer' Siddaramaiah. They challenged the Supreme Court order that stated that the rebel ministers could not be compelled to take part in Assembly proceedings. The order read, “We also make it clear that until further orders, the 15 Members of the Assembly, ought not to be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the ongoing session of the House and an option should be given to them that they can take part in the said proceedings or opt to remain out of the same.”

The coalition was adamant that the ministers should be present in the Assembly to face the wrath of the whip. The BJP decided to protest against the act, and soon, a competition ensued under the non-written, non-displayed banner, 'shout out loud'. The Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar was considered as the referee, but then again, 'to get angry is human, to walk out divine'. The Speaker decided to go out for a walk (and to consult about the law) and left the Assembly in the care of the Deputy Speaker M Krishna Reddy, who basked in the glory of colourful suits. However, the members of the warring parties agreed that 'the show must go on' and decided to continue the edge-of-the-seat contest.

The walk gave the Speaker a new idea to counter the parties: The tactics of postponement. Soon, adjournment stole the limelight from the fighting members of the BJP and the Congress-JD(S). It angered the BJP so much that they decided to sleep at the Vidhana Soudha itself. More importantly, they slept to protest against the postponement.

The session was scheduled to start from 11 a.m the next day. Then, a deadline till 1:30 p.m was given to the ruling coalition to prove their majority. They did not proceed with the floor test and they were given another deadline. Will this ever end?

Hopefully, the whip will cease to exist and the Speaker will come to a firm decision soon. Hopefully, all of us will not become too much older while waiting.