H.D. Kumaraswamy is all set to take oath as CM tomorrow. He is likely to prove majority on the floor of the house the day after.
Here I present four reasons why this alliance is opportunistic and anti-mandate. A variant of this article was first published in Swarajya.
1. Mandate of people which is clearly anti-Congress
The Karnataka verdict is a clearly anti-Congress verdict.
- The seats of Congress have declined by 36% from 122 to 78.
- At the same time BJP tally has more than doubled from 50 to 104.
- Across all regions, BJP has gained seats compared to 2013 elections while Congress has lost seats.
Congress Tally (Source: TOI)
- On 144 seats people have voted against the Congress (104 BJP, 38 JDS+, 2 Others).
- 16 Ministers of Congress government lost the elections.
- CM Siddaramaiah lost the Chamundeshwari seat comprehensively by 36,042 votes, scraped through on other seat Badami by 1,696 votes.
- Outgoing Speaker Krishnappa Koliwad too lost the elections.
- The increase in BJP vote share (+4%) is higher than Congress (+1.4%).
The Karnataka verdict is also anti-JDS verdict.
- The seats of JDS have declined from 40 in 2013 to 38 in 2018.
- The vote share of the party has declined from 20.2% to 18.6%.
- On 184 seats people have voted against the JDS.
Some people suggest Congress has a higher vote share than BJP so it’s wrong to say it has lost the mandate. India follows a first past the post system, even in 2008 when BJP formed the government it had a lower vote share than Congress. So this logic doesn’t hold good. Now, the two parties against which people have voted comprehensively have formed a post poll arrangement to form the government through the back door.
2. JDS and Congress have been principal opponents and share a history of antagonism, 57% MLAs of JDS won against Congress, it will be betrayal of public vote if JDS-INC are invited
The state has witnessed direct contest between JDS (and its predecessors) and Congress from 1978 to 2004. The two parties have taken turns to form the government for 2.5 decades in the state. In 2004 in a hung assembly situation the Congress and the JDS formed a post poll alliance which didn’t last long, only 2 years. There was severe tension in this alliance which impacted the performance of the government. The truncated Janata Dal rechristened as JDS is now reduced to pocket of influence in just one region which is Old Mysuru. The Congress and the JDS have been locked in a keen tussle in this region. Even in this election, JDS won 28 (>70% of its seats), in the Old Mysuru region, majority of them against Congress candidates.
Seat Tally in Mysuru (Source; TOI)
3. JDS and Congress traded barbs at each other during campaign
The JDS and Congress attacked each other vigorously during the campaign. Rahul Gandhi called JDS an “ally” of the BJP. “The ‘S’ in JD(S) no longer stands for ‘Secular’. It now stands for ‘Sangh Parivar’. The JD(S) is actually Janata Dal Sangh Parivar.”
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also attacked the patriah of JDS calling it vote katwa, “The JD(S) has no morality or ethics. Under Gowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy, it has become a ‘vote cutting’ party. They have an understanding with the BJP.”
JD(S) gave it back in equal measure calling Rahul and Siddaramaiah “hypocrites who had once dined with the same Gowdas”. “Is he saying that he is the only clean person around? Let Rahul Gandhi send me his soap. I will use the same to take bath. In 1994, as Chief Minister I had resolved the Idgah dispute at Hubli. Where were Congress people then?” asked Deve Gowda.
4. Shady Deal / Unholy alliance of JDS and Congress
The alliance of Congress with JDS is unholy, unethical. It is opportunistic just for grabbing power. How come and why a party (Congress) which has twice the number of seats (78) than the smaller regional player JDS (38) has agreed to relinquish the CM chair for Kumar Anna. Not only seats, Congress has twice the vote share of JDS. What is this deal? Can anyone understand? Why is Congress so desperate? People are levelling horse-trading allegations against BJP. Is this not corruption? What will JDS MLAs say to the people of their constituencies? People voted against Congress and for JDS in 22 seats. Do these voters want JDS to align with the Congress. That’s the big question.
There are two questions related to this Governor’s decision – one is of ethics and other legality. Ethics point will be decided by the society. Even hardcore supporters of Congress would agree that it is unethical to forge alliance with JDS just to remain in power by hook or crook. The question of legality can be determined only by courts and not the society. Over to them.
To sum up, in a situation where the assembly is not severely hung, deficit is less than 4% of house strength, and given the huge mandate against Congress, it was prudent of Governor to invite the BJP to have the first shot at government formation. The party failed to prove majority on the floor of the house, then the Governor invited JDS-Congress alliance. All the best to the new government!