The Indian Express reports:

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to have its first Chief Minister in a southern state. The BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular), bitterly badmouthing each other just three weeks ago when they parted ways, made a sudden turnaround today to stake claim to form a new coalition government in Karnataka, with BJP’s B S Yediyurappa as Chief Minister

The development comes in the wake of a sudden turnaround by the Gowda father-son duo after fears of a split engineered by JD-S leader M.P. Prakash and Gowda’s bete-noire Siddaramiah now in the Congress. Having called the BJP a communal party, the “secular” JD-S sought cover by asking the BJP to keep off its agenda. At the time of going to press with this post, the matter rested with Governor Rameshwar Thakur who in true Congress spirit has sought time to consult constitutional experts. With numbers in its favor the BJP should get its first government south of the Vindhyas barring any constitutional surprises from the Congress or a vertical split in the JD-S by MP Prakash. As of the time of going to press the JD-S had shifted its MLAs to a resort and the Congress was urging the Governor to dissolve the assembly.

A quick refresher on the sequence of events in this saga

27th Sept Gowda plays a game of bluff

4th Oct Kumaraswamy reneges on promise, threatens elections after father son duo attempt to queer the pitch for BMIC project

By 5th Oct Gowda ends suspense and refuses to transfer power.

When in January of 2006 after snapping ties with the Congress, Kumaraswamy had joined with the BJP to form a coalition government, speculation was rife on the future of the dominant political fault line along the so called “secular”-“communal” divide. But the ensuing 18 months saw the gap between an adrift BJP and a few of its regional allies widen. This drift was most evident during the Presidential election with allies Shiv Sena and Trinamul refusing to back Shekhawat while former allies AGP, TDP and INLD forming the UNPA with the Samajwadi Party.

This drift was wrongly interpreted by many as the “secular”-“communal” fault line re-asserting itself. While Jayalalitha’s ADMK broke ranks with the UNPA to support Shekhawat and has since been cosying up with the BJP on the Sethusamudram issue, it did not alter conventional wisdom on the defining political fault line.

Yesterday’s developments in Karnataka coming in the wake of the Tehelka expose on Gujarat riots confirm beyond doubt that the fault line has shifted permanently.

It can now be safely assumed that the defining fault line of Indian Politics is primarily along three dimensions, none of which along the secular-communal divide. Along the first dimension you have  a “Parochial” versus “National” divide. The second dimension has those “who profess loyalty to a family” or “personality” versus those “who profess loyalty to an ideology”. The third dimension has those “who seek entitlements in the name of social justice” versus those “who seek opportunity by promoting free enterprise”.

The other distinguishing feature of this fault line is that it blurs party lines across state borders. Hence you have a Narendra Modi in Gujarat on the one hand swearing by Special Economic Zones while his counterparts in other states agitating against them.

So the next time you hear of an arrangement of convenience in the name of “secularism” take it with a fistful of salt.

Offstumped Bottomline: The defining political fault line of our times has shifted. With that shift the Vindhyas have been breached.

http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in/2007/10/28/the-fault-line-has-shifted-south-of-vindhyas/#post-comments

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