Karnataka drama

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With the Supreme Court on Friday asking Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa to take a trust vote by 4 pm on Saturday, it remains to be seen whether the BJP can cobble a majority within the next 24 hours. Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala had controversially given Yeddyurappa 15 days for a test of strength. Yeddyurappa’s lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, the former top lawyer for the central government, on Friday asked for a week but the court rejected it. “Better that the floor test is on Saturday (tomorrow) so that nobody gets any time,” said one of the three judges hearing the case. Yeddyurappa’s request for a secret ballot was also denied by the court. The BJP is eight members short of the 112-majority mark in Karnataka. Here it is surprising how the parading of 117 MLAs of Congress and JD-S combine at Raj Bhavan failed to impress the Governor. The latter went ahead with swearing in ceremony of BS Yeddyurappa as chief minister on Thursday morning taking the cover that BJP has emerged as the single-largest party in the state. The overnight unfolding of the political drama and urgent hearing spread over three and a half hours by the Supreme Court early Thursday morning did not help Congress and JD-S combined. The million dollar question is how the governor went ahead with the swearing in ceremony by inviting the single-largest party when there were similar precedents allowing only the BJP with post-poll alliance partners to be sworn in at least in two states of Goa and Meghalaya last year. The governors of the two states refused to invite the single-largest parties when they were through the half way mark which meant that they were having majority in their respective houses. It has been said before also that democracy in India is under threat because the right wing party BJP wants to grab power by whatever means it has to apply and trash the claims of the opposition or the single largest parties in different states of the country. The BJP and its allies want to gain power by creating euphoria among the electorate and occupy every democratic institution and demolish all the democratic norms in the process. The recent turn of events in Karnataka is no different in view of the past experiences over the last one year when it has gone lock, stock and barrel for gaining or clinging to power by defeating the main opposition party or the regional outfits irrespective of the fact whether they share an ideology with them or not. The BJP has joined hands with the parties in the North Eastern states or elsewhere, whom they called “anti-national” elements. In Chakma Autonomous Hill Development Council, BJP and Congress have joined hands for power sharing for keeping the regional outfit Mizo National Front out. Both BJP and Congress have maintained a criminal silence over the entire issue. In Karnataka, a governor, rewarded by the BJP for being finance minister for nine out of 14 years with prime minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat, could not have gone ahead with an uncharted course to displease his masters in New Delhi. It is clear that the Karnataka governor was being used by the BJP-led alliance government for furthering its petty interests by throwing all constitutional norms to winds. Under the right-wing ruling dispensation at the centre, it is expected that he would not give any leverage to the Congress and JD-S combine post-poll alliance for formation of a government in Karnataka. In the first instance, he refused to entertain any claims from the Congress and JD-S combine for formation of the government. The fears of the opposition parties that such a long rope to the BJP chief minister by the governor will allow sufficient time for horse-trading have come true, with reports of some Congress MLAs switching sides. The question arises, how will the BJP cobble up the magic number of 112 in a House of 224 when it has only 104 MLAs being the single largest party. Here it needs to be mentioned that the JD-S leading the government with Congress will also be having inherent contradictions as has happened before in 2004 and 2006 when the former switched sides from Congress to BJP. Anyhow, whatever is in store for the people of Karnataka will be known only after further course of the drama unfolds in the next 24 hours.