OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

Our way or the election way

The power game in Karnataka is heading for a climax with Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy insisting on quitting as promised, even as legislators from both coalition parties urging him not to act in haste. Unnerved by JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda’s decision to call off the scheduled parleys with BJP national president Rajnath Singh and other central leaders on the power transfer, a section of BJP MLAs have reportedly requested Mr Kumaraswamy to prevail upon his father to resume the talks and sort out the differences. Mr. Gowda who left for New Delhi on Wednesday to hold discussions with BJP president Rajnath Singh, returned to Bangalore early on Thursday on getting news of an attempt-to-murder petition filed in the Cowl Bazaar police station of Bellary city by BJP Minister, B. Sriramulu against his son Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

It is a different story that the police did not register a complaint but for Gowda desperately looking for a ruse to play hardball the threat was enough.

Back in January of 2006 when the first act of the current political drama played out Offstumped had noted how the developments in Karnataka signified the blurring of established political fault lines and the tumbling upside down of conventional wisdom.

Coming on the heels of incessant needling of Infosys by Deve Gowda and the lackadaisical attitude to infrastructurement development in Bangalore Offstumped had at that time challenged the Kumaraswamy Yeduriyappa duo to prove its cynics wrong with an agenda that respects the spirit of free enterprise and the rights of people to a better quality of Urban Life.

21 months hence the clock has turned a full circle. H.D. Kumaraswamy no longer appears the maverick that he purported to be back in 2006. Deve Gowda for his melodrama is very much calling the shots. At the heart of all this angst that very issue of infrastructure around Bangalore signified by Gowda’s incessant opposition to the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise’ (NICE) and his unrelenting tirade against its Managing Director, Ashok Kheny.

For long, the dark shadow of Deve Gowda, the Darth Vader of Karnataka Politics, loomed large on the coalition government. As the political games in Karnataka reach a climax, Offstumped calls on the BJP to call Gowda’s bluff.

The BJP must make it clear to the father son duo that they cannot have it both ways. This is a defining moment for HDK on how seriously he will be taken in the future and how credible his claims to be different will be viewed. By reneging on the basic premise of power sharing that got him his office in the first place he will be commiting a serious mistake and forever sullying his image. He needs to realise he is no Mayawati nor is the JD-S like the BSP, which can get away with maverick politics of opportunism. The world’s attention is on Karnataka and Bangalore, make no mistake there will be a heavy price to pay.

There is a lesson for the BJP here as well having repeated the same mistake twice of having negotiated itself into a position of weakness despite having numbers to its advantage. Sections of the BJP by betraying their impatience for power have ended up pushing themselves into a corner and thus indulging the father-son duo’s public shennanigans much to their humiliation.

Power sharing deals make sense only when you negotiate from a position of strength and are prepared to take the high road if the weaker party does not fall in line. By betraying its eagerness and capitulating to a lopsided arrangement the BJP will have only itself to blame if it further compounds the earlier mistake.

Offstumped Bottomline: The BJP needs to call Gowda’s Bluff and read the father-son duo the riot act. If they dont honor the commitment they made 21 months ago, the BJP must be prepared for early elections. HDK and Deve Gowda cannot have it both ways. They must learn to honor commitments or face the wrath of the people.


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