How to read the Karnataka result

The result has rejuvenated the sagging morale of the Congress party and its leadership
Bengaluru, May 20 (ANI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses supporters during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-elected Karnataka Government at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Bengaluru, May 20 (ANI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses supporters during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-elected Karnataka Government at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in in Bengaluru on Saturday.File: ANI

Election  results of   the  Karnataka  Assembly  which has catapulted Congress  to the seat of power  will  resonate in the knowledgeable circles.  It is the fourth one of the similar   kind  so far  as  the  outcome is concerned.  

Read  with previous year’s Himachal Pradesh  Assembly election  and  two elections of Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Himachal Pradesh      ; the  result   has  many  things  to tell.

That  so  called  ‘Nationalism'  and the sectarian  rhetoric   can be hyped to a limit where after they turn into the  story of diminishing  returns:  that  ‘local'  has preference over  ‘national'  when it comes to the real business of  providing  bread, butter and the  shelter. 

Issue of corruption too found traction with  the  Karnataka electors.  Common thread  of these results is that BJP which  as usual   went  into these elections  armed  with  all available political  and   “other”  ammunition has  failed to  find favor  with  the electorate .

Out of many, one message is loud that  the result has rejuvenated the sagging  morale of Congress   party and  its   leadership  which   may  stand   them  in a good stead at  the time when preparations for 2024  Lok Sabha  election are  afoot.

That  given  a little bit  of more effort, at the ground level, much of  its  lost  political  space  can be salvaged . One may not ignore the fact that  this is the first  major  victory  of the INC coming after  successful  culmination  of  Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra

This result gives  us  hope that fundamentals of  the Idea of India  cherished by the    visionary leaders  of freedom struggle are well founded to withstand any stormy weather.

We   live in a highly polarized world where  societies  have fallen  apart  on bigoted considerations. Fear  and  suspicion rule the day. Our story is no different . The   Karnataka  result   transcending   sectarian  rhetoric  is welcome. It  may  unite communities  and dispel  sense of  insecurity among  the  people.

The B JP  must  seriously  introspect that  it is for the second time in a year  when PM Narrandra  Modi’s  appeal to the  voters has failed to hold sway when it came to the state elections.

In  HP,  the PM  told voters  not to bother  too  much about the  contesting candidates, keep him in mind and then put  stamp on the  Lotus symbol  which will straightway reach him as their “Prashad.”  In  Karnataka  he spent  weeks together  actively canvassing for the  BJP.   But   the move didn’t  yield dividends.  Even  emotive sloganeering didn’t help the party.  

Emotions  in politics  play part  up  to a point  and in the long run  matters of  bread and butter  influence  a  voter’s  choice.   True,  the  elections in states are fought on local issues  so the electoral reversal should not be seen as a reflection on  working the  central government. 

But then  BJP doesn’t  shy away from  interjecting  national issues even to a municipal election.  Earlier,  the party carried  issue of 370 to the places in Maharashtra, Haryana,  HP   and   recently  to  Karnataka  to lure voters but of no avail. It is time to learn  limits of  the  hyper  ‘nationalistic fervor' and  sectarian political  rhetoric .

For  the people in  J&K Karnataka election throws up many possibilities. The  politicians   can take  heart that  something can be retrieved from the  tremor of August the 5th , 2019.  It may add to their confidence that this constitutional tinkering didn’t help much BJP in last BDC elections  which were  held soon after 5th Aug 2019.   

The  party couldn’t win  even  1 /3rd  of the 307 seats  which went to the polling.    It shows that despite its vast reach and huge resources the   BJP   can be  challenged successfully   on   a local  political turf , where  PM  Modi  too may not be able  to   pull  it  up.

Kashmir based  political parties like  NC  and  PDP have potential  and  capacity to reclaim major part of the political ground lost in the wake of neutralization of Art 370. 

They only have to put their house in order  and  must reach  out to the people afresh,  address their real issues of bread and butter and not waste time and energy in pampering to the emotive issues. 

Everyone in Kashmir  is  not  for  Pakistan  or Independence.  Many  of them  have sacrificed their  everything for India.   They deserve better life,  regard for their  sensitivities  and   a  say in the   state  government  which, to some extent, election  may provide them  with.

It  is a good sign that every political player in  J&K is  eagerly  waiting for Assembly  elections .   Farooq  Abdullah   has admitted his  party’s mistake of  not taking part in  local body  elections,  held in 2018   and has announced  NC’s   participation  in the  assembly elections.  According to him, it is not wise to give a walk over to ‘others' in a political field. This  may   bode well for the political and social climate of the Valley, as it would make elections more meaningful. 

A caveat!  Having seen what happened to its  poll prospects in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and now in Karnataka, will  BJP top brass risk  an unfavorable poll result in J &K- particularly in Kashmir -  where  political  terrain  has  generally  been  rough and tough for the national parties  to tread  on?   In  all probability,   people in  J&K  may have to wait  till  National Poll of 2024  is  over. 

B L SARAF, former  Principal  District & Sessions Judge

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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