By: Dr Ratan Bhattacharjee
In a major boost for the Congress party got the greatest boost in the South and the Karnataka Assembly election seems to predict a new future for Indian politics. The Congress which was ousted from power on the charge of corruption defeated BJP in Karnataka on the corruption issue. Rahul Gandhi whose Bharat Jodo Yatra along with many other factors such as the fight against the crony capitalism and opening of the Love market against the Hate counterpart made the victory possible. Priyanka Vadra and Sonia Gandhi made emotional appeal reminding the people of Indira Gandhi’s victory in Chikmagalur also had its positive impact on the psyche of the voters in Karnataka. What is strange Karnataka being a state with 80 % Hindu population did not respond to the Hindutva campaign of the BJP. On the day of victory the Congress supporters made a celebration with Bajrang Bali picture probably to remind the Modi supporters of the BJP slogan ‘Bajrang Bali ki Jai’. State president D K Shivakumar swept Kanakapura with over 70 per cent votes. BJP tried to play the horse trading game till the last moment which is finally foiled by Congress gaining nearly double their seats in the state. They crossed the magic figure bar much earlier.
Bharatiya Janta Party is now trying to learn from their mistakes and eyes the Lok Sabha polls of 2024. For Congress now the booster will work like magic in the coming assembly elections and the Lok Sabha poll 2024. The loss in Karnataka will hit the BJP in terms of the perception of its being a largely north Indian party, out of touch with the political and cultural sensibilities of the southern States. It also establishes that the BJP free South is possible and Congress can be the real national party of India. Rahul Gandhi’s Pappu image now can be discarded and BJP will be compelled to take his ‘Muhabbat Ki Bazar’ more seriously. Love can create havoc against hate. The plurality and secular ideals have always attracted the Indians as these go more smoothly with the Constitutional precepts. The fundamentalists got a serious setback with BJP losing grounds in the recent Assembly elections and gradually the return of Modi to power is becoming more and more impossible in the coming days. What is also argued, if Congress is a family based one man party, and then BJP is no less Modi dependent as Trinamool Congress is Mamata based even in spite of all the Abhisek dramas at the state sponsorship in West Bengal. Corruption has once eaten out the vitals of Congress like cankers, and this is now happening to BJP and Trinamool Congress. The Karnataka BJP is attacked as a 40% commission party and cut money complaint is being raised against the Trinamool Government. The Karnataka Victory of Congress without the front may make Rahul and Priyanka revived and the agency plus court attack against the Sonia Gandhi family by the Modi Government may have adverse impact on the voters who are in search of a clean government.
A senior BJP leader had predicted a day earlier that if the Congress won Karnataka, “Unke andar ek ichha shakti jaag jayegi ki hum jeet sakte hain” A newly awakened confidence and optimism following the recent win in Himachal Pradesh made the rebirth of a new Congress and after the Karnataka this is a truth which all need to know. It also once more proves that if any party tries to cleanse its image and refurbish it anew it is possible. The Congress in its last years was fully submerged in corruption. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and this happened to Congress. This is now the story of BJP which is becoming a cut money party like the Trinamool in West Bengal. Even a non political man like me can tell this from the events happening everyday. Cut money system is creating a parallel administration and the state is sponsoring such cut money nexus. This has ruined BJP in Karnataka. It will ruin other such parties in India. Some in the BJP have already begun “soul searching” for reasons to which it can attribute its performance.
Another important thing is that the country needs leaders like Shivakumar who hogged the national limelight today When Congress was in tatters and the organizational management in Karnataka was helpless, Shivakumar appeared as the helmsman to steer the boat to a sure destination. It was a mammoth task to keep the party MLAs intact and away from horse-trading attempts which BJP always tried to do each moment even during the election results. This commitment is needed for all the party leaders. Family or no family, honesty is still the best policy. BJP always allege that Congress is a family based party. This is not true and holds no water after the election results of Karnataka. BJP is not a family based party and why then it is immersed head and ears in the dirty flow of corruption and cut money scandals. No ED CBI are needed to understand that BJP in Karnataka has been involved in 40% commission allegation. So family question is not important. Another thing is the foul use of language. The BJP leaders referred to Sonia Gandhi as Congress Widow or Rahul as Pappu. The rapidity with which Rahul is ousted from the Parliament and his bungalow is not taken by the people so easily. It may be a national issue but this also impacted the assembly elections. Foul language is not accepted from the leaders of the stature of Modi or Shah. Secondly, whatever may be said against the artificial show of love of Congress for the minority, it cannot be denied that BJP is still not able to project themselves as the ‘saviour’ of the Muslims with their Bajrang Bali slogan. Ram Rajya slogan made even Gandhiji detached from the Indian Muslims because the India of their dream cannot be Ram Rajya.
In fact, historians like Irfan Habib and others have thought that Khilafat Andolan was the reverse outcome of Gandhiji’s Ram Rajya slogan. Muslims wanted later Pakistan for themselves under the leadership of Jinnah. Today BJP is being cornered in the country for two reasons and one of them being Adani controversy and the other obviously is the aggressive Hindutva slogan. The citizen bill is on the backfoot and the BJP is not able to move Supreme Court for its implementation even after the bill is passed four years ago. Only during Elections they conveniently talk of it in the meetings to take advantage. The minority is still scared and doubtful of BJP. Manipur is burning. And grievances are brewing up in North East. Because Congress is weak in all these states, BJP is getting a big open field for batting their sixers. After Karnataka elections, many are saying, “What Karnataka thinks today, India thinks tomorrow”. Once the BJP spoke of Congress Mukt Bharat. Now people are talking of BJP mukt Dakshinatya (BJP free South India). No one is invulnerable. History repeats itself. If the Karnataka history repeats in the forthcoming assembly elections, India may witness BJP free North India very soon. If East and South are gone, North East is not far behind. Once the BJP was happy with Kashmir Files. The Prime Minister himself is loudly doing propaganda for the Kerala Story though it did not give much dividend for the BJP in Karnataka. Now what will they say about Karnataka Files, the question is not very unusual if it is asked by the people in the North East. It will be a Billion rupee question and no cut money is offered, sorry. Only the opposition leaders should be more committed to the ideal democratic justice and principles of pluralism and secularism in the country. (The author is a senior academician and trilingual writer & may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)