Karnataka votes

Watching the miracle of democracy is always a great thrill and never was it more so than the assembly election at the state of Karnataka where I reside. The days of the overwhelming majority the political pundits say have long gone and the last major beneficiary was perhaps Rajiv Gandhi with a stranglehold on  the parliament that he lead. Split verdicts and the political shenanigans that result are all that we have to be happy with today. Except suddenly the month long elections here sent up a different message. The people seem  to have voted with their feet and done the best they could to give one single party the ‘simple’ majority. Off course it looked like it just feel short a bit and as one commentator on TV said – this is the cup and lip phase; he meant off course about the many a slip that comes between! The first day of polling was on the 10th of May and amateur psephologist that I am I went out an d took a little exit poll of myself. I walked around asked the voting class of what they felt and the rumble that I was hearing was a shrug saying – lets us give these guys a chance – we have never really seen them in action. The other very strong feeling that I got was anybody but that father and son duo of the ex PM and last CM.


The run up to the  elections to the 224 assembly constituencies was interesting. This was a mid term election brought about by the shenanigans of the father son duo which was an unsavoury chapter in the state’s political history. President’s rule ensued and the election was low key almost silent in terms of canvassing. There was also the issue of the delimitation of constituencies that caused some more heartburn. Finally in the month of May 2008 a total of 2242 candidates representing 31 parties and 943 independents went to the polls. The results however were a clear 3 party mandate.







BJP 224 110 49.11
INC 222 80 35.71
JD (S) 219 28 12.50
Independents 943 6 2.68


And it was a clear mandate for change, the list of the respectable losers which included the Bangarappa family, Dharam Singh showed that the populace can still vote with their feet and make the right choices. Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha (ಕನ್ನಡ ಚಳುವಳಿ ವಾಟಾಳ್ ಪಕ್ಷ) leader Vatal Nagaraj, who was a member of last Assembly, lost his deposit in Chamarajnagar and all his candidates too faced a similar fate. What was interesting was that the Congress ‘High Command’ a mythical beast with faces nay spokespeople like the articulate Kapil Sibal, accepted that the BJP had run a better campaign. The Gowdas accepted that there was a sympathy wave, an irony when the same Gowda family created the sympathy wave with their approach of power at any cost. The 6 independents were an easy flock to break to get the majority that the BJP needed and the new government is expected to be sworn in on Friday this week.


This election was also interesting in terms of watching the fate of the rest of the contestants. I did mention that there were 31 parties and 954 independents. An interesting sidelight was a new party called Lok Paritran set up by IIT ians in an attempt to purge politics clean. However they seem to have fallen prey to the same politics they thought that they would fight. I guess the message is geeks should stick to what they do!


Looking ahead however a new and untried government will have to learn a lot on the job as S.M. Krishna mentioned in an interview. The only thing the new party has in place is discipline and a lack of that famed high command mentality of the Congress. While not quite a regional party – this is an organisation that can at times behave very much like one with the local and regional issues being taken up. The Indian National Congress on  the other hand is a classic case of the Delhi hegemony when even a visit by the local prince – Rahul Gandhi is an occasion to put people down as his father had done in Andhra Pradesh with Anjanaih. I always wonder how the people of Karnataka can still vote the INC into power. I guess it is some kind of a magic!


The state of Karnataka  founded by two Sangama brothers King Hariahara Raya the first and his brother Bukkaya Raya the first – affectionately known as Hakka & Bukka, with the blessings of a great saint patriot of medieval India, Vidyaranya. They were born in the Kuruba clan and commanders in the army of the Kakatiya dynasty rulers from Warangal in Andhra and had fought valiantly against the armies of Muhammad bin Tughlaq – the then ruler of Delhi and found the nation state of Vijayanagara in the 14th century AD. In 2008 – this looks like another new beginning for a suvarna Karnataka!

About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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