Can HDK break the Vidhana Soudha jinx?

The iconic Vidhana Soudha houses the Karnataka legislature. The steps leading up to this seat of power has been the desired venue of several chief minister-designates for their oath taking ceremony. The tragic part though is that none of them completed a full five-year term. DH Photo

Taking the oath of office on the steps of the Vidhana Soudha may be a grand spectacle, but it has brought doom to those who have done so too.

The iconic Vidhana Soudha, built in the Neo-Dravidian style in 1956, houses the Karnataka state legislature. The steps leading up to this seat of government has been the desired venue of several chief minister-designates for their oath taking ceremony. The tragic part though is that none of them completed a full five-year term.

So far, only two chief ministers, D Devaraj Urs and Siddaramaiah, have completed their respective full terms. While Urs took the oath of office in Raj Bhavan, Siddaramaiah was sworn-in at Kanteerava Stadium.

But all those who were sworn-in on the steps of the Vidhana Soudha were not successful in completing their term.

Background
Earlier, the swearing-in ceremony used to be a small affair inside the Glass House of the Raj Bhavan. But for the first time in1983, the oath-taking ceremony was open to the public and was witnessed by the masses. Ramakrishna Hegde became the first non-Congress chief minister and also the first to take oath on the steps of the Vidhana Soudha.

Even before he completed one year in office, Hegde resigned after the Karnataka High Court censured his government for the way it handled arrack bottling contracts. He withdrew the resignation after three days. Again in 1988, Hegde resigned after allegations of phone tapping of prominent politicians and businessmen in Karnataka emerged against his government. He was succeeded by S R Bomaiah.

In 1990, senior Congressman S Bangarappa became the successor to an ailing Veerendra Patil. His choice for the venue of the oath-taking ceremony was again the grand steps of the Vidhan Soudha. However, even his term in office did not last long. After two years, the Congress high command replaced him with Veerappa Moily following his failure to handle the Cauvery agitation.

Again, after nine years, the steps witnessed a grand affair where S M Krishna took oath as the 16th chief minister of Karnataka. When compared to other chief ministers, only Krishna looked likely to complete his term. But months before completing five years in office in 2004, Krishna dissolved the Assembly and called for an early election, where the Congress party suffered a huge setback.

In 2004, the Congress-JD(S) alliance chose Dharam Singh as the chief minister. But for nearly two years, he led the coalition with many ups and downs, which finally came to an end in 2006.

Singh was succeeded by JD(S) chief H D Kumaraswamy, who joined hands with the BJP. The swearing-in ceremony was held on the steps of the Vidhana Soudha, where Kumaraswamy and B S Yeddyurappa took oath as chief minister and deputy chief minister, respectively. The two parties had fixed a 40-month deal, where the first half of the term was led by the JD(S). After 20 months, Yeddyurappa took oath as the first BJP chief minister of South India on the same steps, which ended within seven days.

In 2008, Yeddyurappa staged a comeback back with the support of six Independents. The swearing-in ceremony was witnessed by the BJP’s central leaders. Though he was successful in obtaining a clear majority through ‘Operation Kamala’, he was forced to step down after he was arrested in a corruption case. 

In 2013, Siddaramaiah gave a twist by selecting Kanteerava Stadium for the oath-taking ceremony. He became the second chief minister after Urs to complete a full-term in office.

Now, Kumaraswamy has also selected Vidhana Soudha for taking oath as chief minister for the second time. Can he break the jinx? 

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Can HDK break the Vidhana Soudha jinx?

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