Possibilities, today’s spectacle in Karnataka may open-up for national politics?

Possibilities, today’s spectacle in Karnataka may open-up for national politics?

Tejinder Singh Bedi

The swearing-in ceremony of the JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister of Karnataka today evening is surely going to be a spectacle. Fresh out of a legal bout won with timely support from the apex judiciary, both the Congress and the JD(S) appear excited to follow Modi ji’s model of swearing-in as the nation’s 14th full-time Prime Minister in 2014 — amidst the presence of most heads of countries including even Pakistan, apparently always at war with India.

The difference is that this time the array of invitees includes the heads and presidents of parties from across most States to put up a show of takeoff of the unity of all parties by now seemingly equally threatened or jolted by the hitherto unstoppable ascendence of the BJP at the national level, despite no major gains in its vote shares in most hustings.

Besides Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, chief ministers of most non-BJP states and heads of regional parties expected to attend the ceremony include the NCP leader Sharad Pawar, West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, his son K T Rao, CPM leader Sita Ram Yechuri, CPI leader D Raja, Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, DMK’s Stalion, Bihar’s Tejaswi Yadav, UP’s Ajit Singh and the actor turned politician Kamal Hassan besides a number of other former CMs of some states. Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao — who flew in to congratulate Kumaraswamy yesterday and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik who hardly ever attends such ceremonies are going to be the notable absentees.

The politically won or cleverly managed cake walk take over of governance in most States by BJP since 2014 barring a few political jolts in some by-polls, on Modi-Shah slogan of establishing a Congress Mukt Bharat seemingly making it Mukt of Regional parties too has finally woken up leadership in all big and small, national and regional parties to come together or sit out on the fences till 2024. With the next general elections just about to be held, the penultimate year to run up has accorded further pace to the political manipulations all around.

Although in both the Karnataka and Gujarat recent elections BJP has registered respectable numbers, it has also shown its vulnerability to be cornered as the main opposition in the coming days. The Congress party despite its streak of continuing losses has shown a gradual increase in its vote share still in some regions besides having registered an impressive victory in Punjab and few by-polls. However, it still remains far away from its pre 2014/2009 position.

The result, therefore, to work for 1971, 1977 and 1989 like the template of the unity of all opposition parties under some new umbrella seems quite natural now. The credit for this unifying trigger too goes to the BJP only — for its over-aggressive march to take over of all States. While the changing face of political unity will position the regional party leaders in the greater limelight and so also the shared gains of expected wins, it is not going to alter the inimitable style of campaigning by the strong duo of Modi-Shah a wee bit. For 2019, they still have a great edge in terms of their self-driven and self-lead marketing, campaigning, advertising through all forms of media including the social platforms on top of energy levels and aggression hard to find in any of the leaders from any of the opposition parties today. While in the masses — it is all a game of mass communication and nothing else and no one can beat both Modi ji and Amit Shah in this core competence of their personalities. Oration comes naturally to both of them and even if mostly supported by the politically devised promises, jumlaas and many times not even backed with the correct facts (on history or numbers) — their ability to charm and sway the huge mass of impressionable minds in our electorate by creating hopes for a better tomorrow or achhe-din cannot be matched by anyone else. Coupled with the economic upliftment promises, issues like the Ram Temple have accorded this huge mass of impressionable voters a level of momentum that is still difficult to be encountered though slightly slowed.

In 2014 the BJP rode on a wave of combating corruption supported by the likes of Anna Hazare, Kejriwal and most of our respected Babas — who command a blind following of most of their dedicated followers and barring Anna’s dharnas which have lost steam and Kejriwal already part of the opposition combo, the Babas are again going to play a huge role in favour of BJP in 2019 again.

With all this background, BSP is likely to play the most dominant role in the transfer of vote share to the combined opposition candidates everywhere and besides this if the combined opposition does not give up its greed for power in such alliances — the rope walk is still going to remain challenging.

In the plan for a unity of all of the opposition, the presence of Congress leaders will cover its representation for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Punjab and as such the joining in of both Mamta Banerjee and Mayawati is likely to add a lot of weight to this move.

The move for unity will have to move quickly beyond a mere presence and show of faces on one shared-dais for a very careful analysis of a common minimum shared agenda of growth and service to the country’s large electorate; regionally customized and nationally rationalized — in terms of equitable justice to growth of GDP of each state and hence the entire country’s, opportunities for employment to the skilled and educated masses in the face of fast-changing global technologies, long-term management of distress to the farming community, check on inflation and ever rising cost of living, due respect and inclusivity of the dalits, the marginalized and the minorities and protection of all of our boarders. The emerging leadership will need to create teams of experienced and expert technocrats and economists to work on a synergy of resources of various states to achieve these goals and be ready with a clear blueprint for the common man’s reference well before the beginning of 2019. If the moves takes-off well, even the few other regional parties like the INLD, BJD, DMK, TDP, and TRS may follow suit with the grand alliance.

(*Author Tejinder Singh Bedi is a former technocrat, a people management, CSR Adviser, free-lance writer and a passionate singer)

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Tejinder Singh Bedi

(*Author Tejinder Singh Bedi is a former technocrat, a people management, CSR Adviser, free-lance writer and a passionate singer)