In a sharp turn of events in Karnataka, BJP chief minister B S Yeddyurappa today resigned ahead of the high voltage floor test in the state assembly, which had been directed by the Supreme Court. With the JD(S) and the Congress entering into an unholy alliance, the public mandate for a BJP government in Karnataka has fallen prey to political lust. Yeddyurappa made it clear, in a moving speech, that he is not power hungry and that he will lose nothing even if he loses power. Along with this, he also exposed Siddaramaiah’s hypocrisy and anti-people policies. This emotional speech has also set the stage for the next elections as Congress-JD(S) alliance is not going to last for five years in all probability. Yeddyurappa might have just done what Vajpayee had done when he resigned after his 13-day stint as the prime minister. His resignation at that time helped the BJP in taking the opposition to the cleaners. It remains to be seen whether the Congress-JD(S) alliance which is celebrating its immoral victory will be able to win the confidence of the house when it is put to test. One can remember how H.D. Kumaraswamy and H.D. Deve Gowda had promised that they will never form government in coalition with the Congress. It remains to be seen whether only Kumaraswamy has sold himself to political hunger or his MLAs have also sold their conscience to the Congress.
What happens to the Congress-JD(S) alliance is something that the future will decide. However, it is necessary to understand why the BJP could not win the floor test in Karnataka despite the public mandate in its favour. First of all, the Supreme Court order preponing the date of the floor test had a telling impact. BJP quietly accepted the verdict. The legislators belonging to the JD(S) and the Congress did not even get a chance to listen to their conscience. The governor’s decision to give 15 days for proving majority was not the first of its kind. In 2005, former Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren was given 19 days to prove his majority. In fact, as per the Sarkaria Commission’s recommendation, the ideal period for the chief minister to seek a vote of confidence is 30 days.
Secondly, it seems that the BJP underestimated its cunning opponents. The BJP failed to take into account the extent to which the Congress could fall in order to keep BJP away from power. The Congress by its very character is power hungry, and now being made to face a continuous exile from political power, the Congress has become desperate for power. The JD(S), though it had undertaken not to enter into an unholy alliance with the Congress, is of the same genus as that of the Congress. It was a miscalculation on the part of the BJP not to preempt such a post election alliance and try to find a way of causing rift in the alliance.
Similarly, the Congress imprisoning its own MLAs in a resort is not something new or surprising. The BJP, by not anticipating it did not do itself a favour. While the Congress and JD(S) stooped to the level of taking their own MLAs hostage, the BJP did not take any action against that move. The BJP should have also been ready to employ any central authority for the purpose in order to beat the Congress at its own game, or approach the courts. Detention is a state function and no private person or entity has the right to jail or detain anyone without any legal basis. The way Congress and JD(S) MLAs were kept in detention before the floor test, without being allowed to even contact their families without scrutiny of the Congress leaders or watch news channels to inform themselves, strikes at the root of freedom of expression and liberty which are fundamental rights. The BJP should have mulled going to the courts against this blatant violation of the rights of detained Congress MLAs. In a plethora of rulings, the Supreme Court has held that the social ostracization of any person violates his right to live a humane life as social coexistence is essential to human life. If the MLAs were not allowed to interact with the outside world and inform themselves about the events taking place in Karnataka, how could they have made an informed decision during the vote of confidence? However, the BJP seems to have missed a trick or two.