You can never take nataka (drama) out of Karnataka. The two, like conjoined twins, seem united by birth and destiny. So, in true nataka style, two Congress legislators quit the Assembly on Monday. And, in this theatre of absurd, you can already hear the Doors singing, this is the end, my beautiful friend.
Oh, and since HD Kumaraswamy is in the US, be reminded of the cinematic genius of
Francis Ford Coppola capturing that song in a film that seems aptly titled for the chief minister: Apocalypse Now.
From the window of his hotel in the US, Kumaraswamy may have smelt that unmistakable smell in the morning—that of Napalm. Ok, cut to the chase then. The two resignations imply that the endgame of the war that the BJP had launched on the government—the odorously titled Operation Lotus that is equally symptomatic of the flowers of nataka filth—has well and truly begun.
Within a few weeks, expect a happy ending for the BJP of the drama whose script was written by the electorate by voting in a hung Assembly.
The two legislators on the way out are Anand Singh from Vijaynagar and Ramesh Jarkiholi from Gokak. Once their resignation is accepted by Governor Vajubhai Vala, the Congress numbers in the Assembly will fall to 77. The coalition’s strength of 114 has the added insurance of one BSP legislator and two independent MLAs, who Kumaraswamy had inducted into his cabinet, at the cost of causing heartburn among party loyalists, a couple of weeks ago. Since 113 (plus speaker) is the number required to keep the government afloat, Kumaraswamy may be contemplating an early return from the US, lest there is more napalm in the air.
Singh had in the past dropped hints that he is unhappy with the Congress. At a press conference in Ballari against sale of land to JSW Steel, he had signalled at his imminent departure. Jarkiholi, it was rumoured, was among six legislators amenable to the BJP’s flirting. So, this might just be the beginning.
The thing about the Congress these days is that it resembles a jail whose locks have been burst open, and the sentries and jailor are on a vacation. So, once a legislator bolts, it usually leads to a stampede.
With Rahul Gandhi having abdicated the throne, the state unit in complete disarray, the exit of these legislators could trigger an exodus, like in neighbouring Telangana.
The BJP, as per prevailing norms, would publicly distance itself from the event. But, in the background, it would have most likely offered tickets to the deserters in the by-election that would inevitably follow.
Since, the Congress and JD(S) are on the wane, these legislators would return to the Assembly as BJP members, reducing the government to a minority. Ergo, a bloodless coup is on the cards. BS Yeddyurappa, after all, isn’t getting any younger. Kumaraswamy himself, if he knows the ending of the nataka, may go while he is still the CM, perhaps even consider a clean break from the Congress in the hope of a new alliance. In the past, he has cribbed publicly about his discomfiture with the alliance and his inability to shoulder the burden of the government.
A few days ago, the CM’s father HD Deve Gowda had predicted, without breaking into his usual tears, mid-term polls in Karnataka were inevitable. The two coalition partners had then gone on to announce decisions that corroborated the prognosis. While the JD(S)
had announced a padyatra, the Congress overhauled the organisation.
The latest act in the perennial nataka suggests, the patriarch’s prophesy might not come true. In all likelihood, the BJP is all set to sneak in from the backdoor, ensuring a few more years of that typical Karnataka thing—Kar nataka (start drama).