By M.K. Ashoka
Bengaluru, Jul 17 (IANS): The Bharatiya Janata Party's ambition of attaining power in south India still remains a distant dream. Though the saffron party has been successful in grabbing power through ‘Operation Kamal, so far all its attempts to gain a simple majority on its own in Karnataka have failed.
On two occasions, the BJP managed to get a majority in the 224- member legislative assembly in Karnataka by ensuring the collapse of the JD (S)-Congress coalition governments in 2008 and 2019. Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa who brought the party to power, was in the forefront of carrying out ‘Operation Kamal'.
On both occasions Yediyurappa successfully broke the opposition parties JD (S) and Congress, ensured the victory of candidates in re-elections and managed to attain a simple majority in the state.
However, political analysts and progressive thinkers dub "Operation Kamal" as unethical. It was introduced for the first time in the history of the state's politics.
The people voted for candidates who embraced the saffron party but did not give the BJP a clear mandate. The saffron party this time is strategising to obtain a clear mandate in the assembly elections without having to carry out "Operation Kamal".
The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 79 seats after the 2004 assembly elections. The Congress won 65 seats and the JD (S) won 58 seats. The JD (S) extended support to the Congress to form the government.
However, in January 2006, 42 JD (S) MLAs revolted under the leadership of former minister Kumaraswamy. The coalition government collapsed. Kumaraswamy forged an alliance with the BJP and became the Chief Minister of Karnataka and B.S. Yediyurappa took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister.
The BJP was able to capture power for the first time in the south Indian state.
In 2008, the BJP managed to win 110 seats but fell short of a majority. It was able to form the government with the support of 6 independent MLAs. However, the BJP sacked the Independent MLAs later and managed to get a majority through 'Operation Kamal'.
In 2018, the BJP yet again emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats. The Congress won 78 and the JD (S) won 37 seats. To keep the BJP away from power Congress leaders went to the doorstep of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and extended unconditional support to the JD (S).
H.D. Kumaraswamy took oath as the CM of Karnataka. The swearing in ceremony was attended by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, New Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, BSP leader Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, former Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, Sitaram Yechury, Kamal Hassan, Ajit Singh, Tejashwi Yadav.
Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati sharing a stage was seen as a big development. The alliance seemed to pose a formidable front before the BJP alliance. However, the coalition could not survive for more than one year. The BJP taking advantage of the infighting in the Congress, managed to draw 16 MLAs to its side.
Darshan Jain, state joint secretary for the AAP in Karnataka, stated that "Operation Kamal or Lotus" is political terrorism unleashed on the country by the BJP. The party is becoming a direct threat to the Constitution and democracy. They started with poaching 5 MLAs, it went to 15, then 20 and now they have poached 47 MLAs in Maharashtra to form the government. In Goa the BJP purchased all 11 MLAs of the Congress, he added.
Though the people have given their mandate, majority governments have come under threat of being replaced. Senior RSS leader Ram Madhav stated that before 3 years the BJP will come to power in the country without even having to contest the polls. The only answer to this is development politics, said Darshan Jain.
In New Delhi in 2013, the BJP which had got 35 MLAs wanted 7 more to form the government. Though the party tried to break the Aam Aadmi Party, not a single MLA responded. In 2015 elections were held and the AAP got a thumping majority by winning 65 seats, said Jain.
The vote has to be given to the candidate who is honest and who stands for ideology. The Congress has not learnt this lesson even after the BJP hijacked its governments in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Goa. However, the BJP is not able to disturb AAP governments, Darshan Jain added.