- Corruption is a non-issue. BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate BS Yedyurappa was accused of widespread corruption, particularly in supporting alleged illegal mining activities of Reddy brothers. His rival from the Congress, the outgoing Siddaramiah, was bank rolled by DK Brothers – land sharks who are accused of appropriating land meant for low cost housing of the poor. Third man in the fight – HD Kumaraswamy, one time producer and distributor of ‘C Grade movies’, now due to be sworn as the new Chief Minister, is under investigation by the Supreme Court of India, for having allegedly pocketed huge bribes and pressured bureaucrats into awarding a mining lease to a businessman on the basis of forged documents during his earlier stint in government. The force of corruption charges on one party appeared to have been cancelled out by forces of equal corruption charges on another – rendering the whole moral argument against corruption useless. Ultimately the narrative boiled down to a choice of ‘my less corrupt leader against your more corrupt leader’ with the ‘more and less’ left to people to imagine.
- Campaigning is about producing ‘believable lies’ and sometime ‘unbelievable lies’ interspersed with Fake news. Truth is inscrutable and rendered inconsequential. Nothing is trustworthy anymore. Newspapers and television programs manufacture stories and bomb them on unwilling audience with a view to confuse rather than clarify. Social media techniques are used to amplify lies and deliver them on personal screens – to people hungry for the outrageous and the extreme.
- Not only were millions spent to ‘buy votes’ but several millions more were used to buy ‘MLAs’ elected with those ‘purchased votes’. If this was not condescending enough, staggeringly bigger amounts were paid to vulnerable ‘MLAs’ to remain in their parties. All in black money – in a country where cash was was swept clean a few months ago in a painful demonetisation program.
- BJP ‘did well’ – but ‘doing well’ is no more ‘good enough’. Being the largest party with 30-35% share of vote is no guarantee to govern until you can keep the opposition permanently disunited.
- Congress is out to kill. it will stoop down to defeat – a strategy that BJP seems to have used successfully in the recent past. Winning at any cost – contradicting statements and stands – finding fuzzy logic – twisting arguments and bending the truth. Politics is no more a conscientious call to public service – it is a road to the joys of life – at the expense of struggling masses.
- Hindus are a ‘treacherously divided’ lot incapable of uniting under a religious umbrella. Real divisions of ethnicity, culture, language and caste far outweigh the fictitious unity of religion that BJP is trying to manufacture – unsuccessfully.
- Minorities and Dalits voted against both the BJP (for oppressing them) and Congress (from preventing that oppression) – JD(S) got most of their votes not out of love but out of a lack of choice. Congress is their second choice. BJP their uncontested enemy.
- BJP’s inability to form the government in Karnataka has serious consequences for the upcoming elections in Rajasthan – where they are likely to lose, barely make it in Madhya Pradesh and skid in Chattisgarh.
9. If the opposition turns the 2019 election into a ‘BJP versus the Rest’ war with Congress strategically taking the back seat and allowing strong regional parties to lead, it is the end of BJP in the next Lok Sabha.
10. Whither representative democracy – the rule of majority? People of Karnataka will now be ruled by JD(S) the smallest party in the state with 37MLAs, with the support of Congress the second smallest party with 78 MLAs whereas the largest party BJP with 104 MLA’s …will sit in opposition.