May 22, 2018, 11:36 am IST
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A Shot in the arm of Regional Front

A Shot in the arm of Regional Front

Observer, May 15, 2018

The Karnataka developments have led to an unexpected result: Congress and the Regional Front coming together.  It has also led to Congress demonstrating that it is willing to sacrifice its party interests to uphold secular politics and defeat communal forces.  One is not sure whether the emergence of Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) post election alliance will have its desired results of keeping BJP out of power.  However it will definitely strengthen the secular forces and the formation of a broad based Regional Front with space for national parties.

The Congress has made a shrewd move. Though it has won 77 seats it chose to support D. Kumaraswamy, son of Deve Gowda, as chief minister who only has less than half the numbers – 38 members - elected to the assembly.  By this move Congress has demonstrated that it is willing to sacrifice its own interests to defeat communal forces. Incidentally, Congress had earlier supported Deve Gowda as prime minister of India though it had similar double strength compared to that of Gowda. On his part Gowda has rejected the overtures of the Bharatiya Janata Party and preferred to go with the Congress. It is true that Bharatiya Janata Party would not have agreed to making Kumaraswamy as the chief minister.

Incidentally, the election results have demonstrated that if the secular forces come together it can defeat the unchecked electoral successes of the BJP and put an end to its policies which have gone against the interests of the farmer and common man.  Had the Congress and Janata Dal-S agreed on seat adjustments before the elections, they could have swept the state elections. Already in Uttar Pradesh Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have shown that together it can defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party.  In short, multi cornered contests will be advantageous to the Bharatiya Janata Paraty, just as Indian National Congress was benefitted for almost six decades or so due to divided opposition and division of anti-Congress votes.

Such a coming together can help the secular forces in forthcoming elections to assemblies of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states by the end of the year.  Of course in these states Congress is a major player but if it can ally with other small parties it would not be easy for the BJP leadership to win the elections.  Such a pattern can be developed at the all India level in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections which can provide formidable challenge to the saffron party. Even if BJP manages to scrape through the opposition would be stronger than today and can stop bills being passed without discussion due to overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha.

Undoubtedly the Karnataka development would strengthen the hands of Mamta Bannerjee , leaders of regional parties like Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Sharad Yadav and Sharad Pawar.  There is a problem that they are all ambitious leaders with an eye on the top job. Surprisingly Congress has shown a path that only sacrifices by all can strengthen the secular forces.

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