Friday 23 May 2008

Of election dates, results and downfall of kingmakers

One would remember that the Karnataka Congress was not ready for an election in May. They took the alibi of delimitation in their appeal for September (or even November) polls. So, I don't expect the Congress to get majority this time, since they themselves aren't confident of it. The BJP planned to harp on the great betrayal by the JDS. As time passed by, it has lost out the sympathy factor. BJP would have preferred the elections to be held in January this year. So, it may miss out on getting majority for the second time running. So, the biggest beneficiary of the present dates of the elections would be the JDS. Not that they can achieve majority, for Gowda and sons are keener to be kingmakers. The elections are most likely to throw up a hung assembly.
The Congress has too many chief ministerial aspirants. Former CMs SM Krishna and Dharam Singh, party chief Mallikarguna Kharge now have competition from the latest imports from JDS, Siddaramaiah and MP Prakash. There are some dark horses in HK Patil and DK Shivakumar. All of them would be interested in capturing the gaddi. In case of a hung assembly, Deve Gowda would ensure that SMK, DKS and the new recruits from JDS are kept away from the government. Congress would not like Deve Gowda to decide its leader. If the two join together, it could be toss-up between Kharge and HK Patil for the CMs post. That would mean Gowda and sons consolidating their land (err.. literally) for the next three years. Yes, three years is right. The assembly can't last the full term with Gowda and sons calling the shots.
The BJP has a clear leader in Yediyurappa. In case of a hung assembly, he would not be foolish to support Gowda. He would be wary of even accepting their support, since they fought the elections mainly against the JDS. A BJP-JDS combine is, without an iota of doubt, out of question.
So, the Congress-JDS combine is most likely to form a government. That combination could divide the Congress, since the most influential Congress leaders are opposed to Gowda. So, if for any reason, the Congress-JDS combine doesn't come through, there could still be a way out, and without fresh elections. Confused?? Read on...
The 2004 elections were fought with anti-BJP rhetoric, all over the country. That forced the Congress and JDS to come together. SM Krishna, the only hitch then, was shielded from serious charges of corruption with gubernatorial duties. The sole intention of the combine then was to keep the BJP out of power. This time though, both the BJP and Congress have fought the elections against the JDS. Keeping JDS out of power is their common objective. That could be enough to bring them together. So, I won't be surprised if Congress provides outside support to the BJP, or BJP to the Congress!!! As they say, politics can make strange bedfellows!!
The game is about to begin... Whoever said the IPL was the most-fought and entertaining event of the year, Karnataka may just prove them wrong!!
PS: I wrote this post for IBN-live website. Click here to access the same post on IBN blogs.