Crisis in Karnataka

WHILE a huge churning is on in the Congress party at the national level, situations are conspiring to force it to take more hits at the regional levels. There is hope that some young leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora are likely to take an active role at the AICC level, which might do well for the party. The leadership crisis at the central level is making matters worse for the Congress at state levels too, as is evident now in Karnataka. The CongressJD(Secular) government led by HD Kumaraswamy has lost its majority support. In a fast-deteriorating situation, altogether 13 of the ruling side legislators have put in their resignations. The situation is irretrievable as the chief minister had already stretched himself beyond limits to accommodate varying interests by way of offering cabinet berths. His return from post-poll vacationing abroad on Sunday might be of little help to contain the rebellions in his own JDS as also the Congress.

The government led by Kumaraswamy, in office since May 2018, is already seen as being among the most-corrupt because the CM himself has been under intense pressure from all sides. The unholy political experiment of allowing a smaller party to head the government while the bigger party took the back seat was itself an invitation to trouble. The alliance itself was crafted in an unprincipled way, post-poll, to deny the largest party – the BJP – a chance to run the government. All these polluted the state’s political atmosphere so much that everyone in the ruling party was seeking their pound of flesh. What has obviously added to the snowballing of a political crisis now is the washout the JDS-Congress alliance faced in the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP won 26 of the 28 seats, leaving only one each seat to the Congress and the JDS. Even granted that this was a verdict for political positioning at the Centre, it abundantly proved the erosion in the support base for the Congress and the JDS. The ruling side legislators who were waiting to target the top brass in their respective parties found they could strike now, when the iron is hot. Kumaraswamy has rejected proposals from within his party too to quit the post, and is bent on trying a few more tricks to remain in the saddle. Having made so many compromises, it is time he stepped down rather than vitiate the political atmosphere. Karnataka is only one state where dissidence is building up in the Congress party. The sooner the party sets its house in order at both central and state levels, the better for its existence.

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