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Why Congress-JD(S) government won't last long in Karnataka?
"Is the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka a stable one?" My friend asked me.

He knew that I was very critical of the BJP forming a government without having the numbers. Also, I'm of the opinion that even if BSY had managed the numbers through poaching like the infamous ‘Operation Lotus’ of 2008, he wouldn’t be able to give a stable government.

However, I am also of the opinion that the Congress-JD(S) government won’t last long. I think it will fall within three to six months. There are two main reasons for this as explained below:

Karnataka State Congress:The Congress has never played second fiddle especially when it has more numbers. In the 2004 Maharashtra Assembly elections, the NCP got 71 seats compared to Congress’ 69 seats, yet the Congress didn’t agree for a CM from NCP. Finally, Vilasrao Deshmukhwas retained as the CM of Maharashtra. Thus, it is to be seen how the Congress will tolerate a CM of a smaller party like the JD(S). Clearly it's a decision taken under desperation and pressure fromthe party's Delhi high command to stop the BJP from coming to power, however,in the long-run at the state-level, the Congress party may not want to persist with Kumaraswami as the CM. Karnataka State Congress party mayalsorecall the way Kumaraswami had exerted pressure on Dharam Singh government and finally withdrawn support.

Also, Karnataka State Congress party is sharply divided. Siddaramaiah who is an ex-JD(S) member had joined the Congress and straight away taken charge as the CM because the Congress high command thought that it was his AHINDA equation which had brought 122 seats. Siddaramaiah, in fact yielded much of his authority side-lining old Congress members. Thus it’s time for old Congress leaders including DK Shivakumar to corner Siddaramaiah and his supporters. On the other hand Siddaramaiah is a strong leader who will not allow the old timers to emerge powerful in the party. At the same time Siddaramaiah has serious problems with Kumaraswami and will never want him to emerge as the face of Karnataka politics. On the other hand, Kumaraswami has been displaying bonhomie with Siddaramaiah because the confidence vote is more important at the moment. However, post the confidence vote Kumaraswami would want to crush Siddaramaiah’s credibility using Congress' old timers like Shivakumar and G Parameshwar. Thus, there will not only be intra-groupism inside the Congress party but also serious differences inside the government. When such differences increase then there would be discontent and the BJP will take advantage in bringing down the government.

Karnataka's cast equation: In Karnataka there are five politically strong communities. The Lingayats, Vokkaligas, Kurubas, Dalits and Muslims. (I'm not mentioning the demographic percentage as the leaked caste-based census of the Karnataka government is controversial.) Now officially, BSY represents the Lingayats, Kumaraswami the Vokkaligas and Siddaramaiah the Kurubas. As per the rule there can only be a maximum of 34 ministers including the Chief Minister. Also there are very few plump ministries say around 5 to 7 in numbers.

Now how representation of various castes and communities can be ensured in the ministry? Since BSY is out of power due to lack of eight votes, thus Lingayat community must be satisfied by giving it enough representation with plump ministries else there would be dissidence. In Siddaramaiah government Kuruba community was strongly represented. Now if they are not represented properly in the current ministry there will be discontent and revolt. Vokkaligas were least represented during Siddaramaiah'stenure or it can be said that Kurubas got representation at the cost of Vokkaligas. Thus, if you satisfy Kurubas then Vokkaligas will rebel and if Vokkaligas are given importance Kurubas will rebel. Even if somehow these three communities are accommodated how Dalits and Muslimswill find representation? By many accounts, in Karnataka, the Dalit community is by far the largest community. (18 to 24 per cent.)

The bottom line is that power is very important for the Congress-JD(S) combine but then sharing power is the most difficult job in such a scenario. For example had there been a BJP government, Lingayats would have been the most dominant followed by Dalits and others. In case of a Congress government, Kurubas and Dalits would have dominated followed by others. And in a pure JD(S) government Vokkaligas would dominate most followed by others.

Thus the problem is not only various groups inside the Congress but also various communities in the Congress-JD(S) alliance. That’s why Kumaraswami and the Congress high command have still not finalised the ministry and are reluctant to form the ministry before the vote of confidence. Furthermore, some state-level leaders have dismissed Congress high command's decision to support Kumaraswami unconditionally for five years. The term unconditional is not relevant now as the negotiation for ministries has already started. Then, there could also be a demand for rotational Chief Minister.

Knowing all the above, it's highly unlikely that this coalition government will run smoothly for long.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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