Editorial – Karnataka: Conflict & clarity

The Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka, headed by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, collapsed Tuesday night capping a 14-month-long turbulent tenure, losing a vote of confidence in the Assembly, setting the stage for the BJP’s return to power in the southern State. After losing the trust vote which missed a couple of deadlines, Kumaraswamy, 59, went to Raj Bhavan and submitted his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala. The resignation was accepted with immediate effect but Kumaraswamy was asked to continue as caretaker Chief Minister till alternative arrangements are made.

Bringing to end a three-week-long, high-voltage, intense power struggle triggered by a raft of resignations by rebel lawmakers that made the survival of the government difficult, the confidence motion moved by Kumaraswamy was defeated with 99 members voting for the motion and 105 against it in a House of 225 including Speaker P R Ramesh Kumar and a nominated member. As many as 20 MLAs — Congress-JD(S) (17), BSP (1), Independents (2) — skipped the proceedings, reducing the effective strength of the House to 205. The magic figure for Kumaraswamy to win the trust vote was 103. “The motion moved by the Chief Minister has fallen through,” Speaker Kumar announced.

Flashing the victory sign after the voting, BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa, who is hoping to become the Chief Minister for the fourth time, described the outcome as a “victory for democracy” as people were fed up with the Kumaraswamy government. Happenings in Karnataka triggered responses from across the country, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi stating the greed of those who saw the alliance as an obstacle in their path to power won, while democracy and the State’s people lost. “From its first day, the Cong-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka was a target for vested interests, both within & outside, who saw the alliance as a threat & an obstacle in their path to power. Their greed won today,” Rahul said and added: “Democracy, honesty and the people of Karnataka lost.” The BJP said, “It’s the victory of people of Karnataka. It’s the end of an era of corrupt & unholy alliance. We promise a stable & able governance to the people of Karnataka. Together we will make Karnataka prosperous again.” The people of Karnataka expected a stable government of their choice and their wish should become a reality.

NT Bureau