The Indian National Congress (INC) is desperate to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power in Karnataka and has made a stunning political thriller, by staking claim to form the next government as the second largest party capturing 78 seats in the House of 222. The third largest party - Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) with 38 seats, is riding on the blank cheque of Congress, by extending support to form the government and has met the Governor, Vajubhai R Vala seeking permission to proof the number on the Floor of the House. BJP captured 104 seats.
Karnataka Raj Bhawan was turned into a fortress immediately after the verdict on May 15, 2018. By late afternoon when the result was clear, the parties whose main object is to keep the BJP out of power, came an agreement to provide the strength to form the government, however, in this case the Congress and the JD-S does not have a pre – poll alliance, sparking off debates that the single largest party, in this case the BJP, should be invited first to formed the government, however, it is the prerogative of the Governor to exercise his Constitutional power to invite the party he or she feels could provide a stable government.
The BJP which is now crying foul has expressed fear of horse trading, as the Independent Candidates are alleged to have been keen under house arrest in the hotel to be paraded before the Governor in person, which is the normal practice which the Governor will seek. This time the BJP is actually getting a taste of its own medicine after what had transpired in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, where the saffron party managed to form the Government in spite of not being the single largest party.
The Karnataka 2018 verdict is stated to be part-II of the verdict of 2008. However, BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa, not giving up so easily to the opposition had also called on the Governor to allow him to prove majority support in the Karnataka Assembly.
Like the March 3, 2018 hung verdict for Meghalaya had put the state into the limelight, where the party with single majority along with the runners up has the least to say when it come to staking claim to form government. It is seen that the kingmaker is always the smaller parties and the Independent candidates, resulting in horse trading. Well versed with Meghalaya Politics, Assam Finance Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also NEDA Convener, was given full charge to see that Non – Congress entities form the next government in the Hill state. Since the BJP got just two Members of Legislative Assembly, they have very little say, however, Himanta successfully played his role as facilitator and managed to win over the Regional party - United Democratic Party (UDP) to form a six party coalition led by the National People’s Party (NPP) with 19 MLAs which was presented as an alternative to a Congress Government, which had earlier staked claim to form the new government in Meghalaya.
NPP, which is an alliance partner of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Centre with its National President, Conrad K Sangma, who is the sitting Member of Parliament representing Tura Lok Sabha Constituency is also the associated with North-East Democratic Alliance or NEDA, a political coalition that was formed on May 24, 2016 by BJP along with Regional Political parties like Naga People’s Front, Sikkim Democratic Front, People’s Party of Arunachal, Asom Gana Parishad and Bodoland People’s Front in Northeast.
The NDA alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was serious when the party President Amit Shah announced that they will form government in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. In the latter two states, they came second, yet it made all efforts to woo the smaller parties to achieve the magic number for government formation.
Former Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar was sworn in for the fourth time as Goa Chief Minister and needs to be elected to the legislative assembly within six months to keep this seat. In the case of Manipur , Former editor and minister Nongthombam Biren was on March 13, 2017 unanimously elected as the BJP legislature party leader in Manipur and has since been sworn in as the state’s Chief Minister.
These moves have affected the post of Chief Minister who is supposed to be the head of a state where the incumbent supposed to be democratically elected. In the case of a hung assembly, adjustments (sharing of post) or the practice of forming a coalition government is often being adopted. However, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and now Tamil Nadu and Nagaland have exhibited that the said post is in high demand, where every individual – either an elected or a non-member of the august house too can aim for the post, a post which is many a time being snatched, violating the sanctity of the august house.
It may be mentioned that Meghalaya has been setting many trends in democracy for other states including in Parliament, particularly the first coalition government which was formed in Meghalaya on March 1, 1978, where the biggest political meeting was held in the state. It was on that day at a public meeting that the APHLC with 16 MLAs – HSPDP (14), PDIC (two) and the JNU with one nominated MLA – were forced to form a coalition government in order to prevent the Congress which had a strength of 20 MLAs in the Assembly to form a government under the banner of MTYU (Meghalaya Tribal Youth Organization). DD Pugh was the first Chief Minister of the first-ever coalition government. Later, BB Lyngdoh completed the term as the Chief Minister of the coalition by sharing the term.
The Bihar verdict 2015 has also taught a lesson to the world about the politics of ‘maha-gathbandhan’ - Grand Alliance and as many called it the marriage of convenience, the Pre-poll agreement between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav has settled into an easy jugalbandi. When the campaign began, there were predictions of doom for the Grand Alliance. First the political pundits stated that Lalu Prasad Yadav, like his samdhi from UP, will stab Nitish Kumar in the back. Then they predicted that both of them will fight like a couple caught in a bad alliance. And, finally, they announced that their workers will not forget years of animosity and won’t work as a team.
Before that, when Laloo Prasad Yadav was in trouble, he was left with no choice but ensure that his wife Rabri Devi was sworn in as chief minister of Bihar before she could even spell ‘government’, three days later, she was in the Bihar Assembly to face a vote of confidence.
Tamil Nadu has now got a democratically elected Chief Minister, as Edappadi K. Palaniswami after won with 122 votes for the motion, while 11 votes were cast against the confidence vote by the rival AIADMK camp led by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam. He belongs to the AIADMK faction led by party General Secretary V.K. Sasikala.
Sasikala, now popularly known as Chinnamma wanted to inherit even the post of Chief Minister as she did the property, including Golden Bay resort of late Jayalalithaa. Had it not been for the Court Ruling against her in the disproportionate assets case, she would have probably become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Arunachal Pradesh could be considered as a classic case, ever since Nabam Tuki was toppled by Kalikho Pul. Later, the Supreme Court had reinstated the Tuki government, who only paved way for Pema Khandu to take charge, and now he is being suspended by his party, the state has also witnessed frequent change of Governor too for the past three years.
Such games of musical chairs for the post of Chief Minster in India, have raised questions about the elected post, where in most cases, the voters are in the dark about how power is changing hands, and their elected representative can easily relinquish their post for other, or how a non-elected member can simply occupy the chair and seek a vote of confidence or bye-election to continue staying in power. None of them ever realized that they have made a mockery of democracy!
It is worth witnessing how the political drama will unfold this time in Goa and Manipur, as BJP who is desperate to formed more government is bulldozing the democracy for government formation in the state where they are only the second largest elected party.