That the Karnataka crisis is being orchestrated by the BJP to topple a government through illegal means is no secret. The BJP is continuously trying to unseat the coalition -- they have tried to bribe, use central agencies and coerce the opposition into submission. They are repeating ‘Operation Kamala’ which they used in 2008 to gain power.
The BJP may lament about Karnataka’s “unnatural alliance” and claim that the coalition government in Karnataka may be ‘mandate mathematics’, but the party appears to have forgotten one simple fact: that BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa had his chance at being chief minister, and lost it.
Appointed by the Governor, Yeddyurappa failed to prove his majority in the assembly in the time-frame mandated by the Supreme Court. This, despite the fact that the party used mischievous tactics and intrigue to bribe legislators from other parties.
In fact, the BJP has not restricted this method to grab power to Karnataka alone. Maybe the party, which claims to have an exclusive right over nationalism, would care to explain its post-poll alliance with the People’s Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir?
The way the BJP stole the mandate of the Congress in Goa, Meghalaya and Manipur is a known secret. Despite the Congress being the single largest party in these three states, the BJP, in connivance with pliant Governors, stitched up alliances with various political outfits and formed governments. At that time, the BJP had boasted brazenly about these appalling acts, justifying them as an example of “tactical brilliance and political manoeuvring”. In my opinion, they are a fraud on the mandate of the people.
But there is a difference when it comes to Karnataka. Here, the BJP was the single largest party and had the chance to form the government and prove majority, which it failed to do. In the other three states, the Congress, in spite of being the single largest party, was not even given a chance to form the government.
In Goa, all constitutional norms were thrown to the wind and the BJP outrageously claimed that it enjoyed the mandate of the people. Their hypocrisy is blatant -- they use different yardsticks in different states to suit their agenda, without a care for democratic norms.
While the BJP today criticises the JDS-Congress alliance, it does not bother to explain the dishonesty the party committed in Bihar. The BJP has inflicted ‘political coups’ in various opposition-ruled states, especially in Bihar, where the party used unethical machinations instead of coming to terms with its embarrassing defeat. The party broke the Mahagathbandhan of the RJD, JDU and Congress, tied up with the JDU and subverted the mandate of the people.
The least the BJP can do today is take a cue from its own NDA government, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Running a coalition requires a broader outlook, with respect for dissenting views, not something the BJP, with its onemanship and bullying tactics, is good at. It has no idea how to run a coalition; look at how they messed up in Jammu and Kashmir and their relationship with their ally in Maharashtra.
The BJP must learn to respect and tolerate different political parties, rather than try to topple governments of opposition parties in an illegal and arbitrary manner. They must respect the ideals of the Constitution and work with different governments in a collaborative and cooperative way, instead of creating disruptions for the sake of attaining power.
At a time when the country is staring at an economic slowdown and rural distress, the BJP would do better to focus of governance instead of undermining state governments and creating political crises.