Winners gloat, losers grumble. That’s the law of human nature. But in post-Karnataka politics, the victory celebrations are more muted than they might have been and the moaning and shrieking by the vanquished is sounding more like baying for the blood of scapegoats and a roar for revenge and retribution.
The victors of Karnataka are undoubtedly in a self-congratulatory mood, and deservedly so. But there is also a sense of awareness of the challenges that lie ahead. The new-found Congress-JD(S) partnership is turning out to be more than just a shot-gun wedding between two parties. It has triggered off an avalanche of proposals and possibilities of a mass marriage with multiple spouses along with their kith and kin.
When a sulking Governor reluctantly performs the nuptial ceremonies of the Kumaraswamy coalition on Wednesday, there will be a score of very important wedding guests, all equally eager to jump into the nuptial bed.
The responsibilities that come with such a potentially mind-blowing and game-changing union can be daunting and full of imponderables. But the signs are favourable, the horoscopes seem to match and there is a convergence of hearts and minds regarding the sacred objective—ridding India of the dangers of dictatorship.
This is what makes the losers’ blood boil. That is what helps them swallow the humiliation of defeat in Karnataka and propels them on the path of vengeance. The exposure of their underhand methods of grabbing power at any cost—based on the amoral logic that “ends justify the means”—has clearly heightened their determination to adopt even more nefarious ways to crush resistance with an iron hand
The first signs that the country will be witness to a “you haven’t seen anything yet” era are already visible: stirring of communal tensions in coastal Karnataka, killing of Dalits in Satna and Rajkot, tax raids on dozens of rival party leaders, a new flood of propaganda on social media, etc.
But along with countrywide action against opponents, the search is also on to find scapegoats for what went wrong in Karnataka itself. Internally, questions are being asked that have to be answered. Why were the services of leaders like Himanta Biswa Sarma not harnessed in Karnataka? Soul searching and post-mortems are being conducted within the Sangh Parivar. The consensus view emerging is that Union Minister Prakash Javadekar would be the most appropriate ‘fall guy’.
Javadekar is the one being blamed for wrong choices at critical moments. One party leader has been quoted as saying: “The sacrifice we made in the form of Yeddyurappa’s resignation before the floor test could have been avoided. We should have given the chance of government formation to the JD(S)-Congress combine in the first place itself”. Many agree.
But the urge to find more scapegoats may not be satiated with just one head rolling. The blame could also go to Yeddyurappa, because he evidently kept insisting that the required numbers would be managed.
There is also a feeling in the RSS that unlike the past, the Congress preparedness for post-poll machinations was much more organised and smooth than the BJP’s. Immediately after the exit polls, the top leadership of Congress got in touch with the JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister Deve Gowda and enlisted the services of some prominent Third Front leaders, including Sitaram Yechury, to reach out to the Gowdas
According to Sangh insiders, Sonia Gandhi got in touch with Sitaram Yechury and leaders like K Chandrasekhar Rao (TRS) and Mayawati (BSP) to ensure that Deve Gowda is “assured and reassured of the Congress sincerity” in extending unconditional support for Chief Ministership to JD(S).
In contrast, Javadekar was in Delhi on May 15 (counting day) and thus the quick reflex actions of the BJP—which was visible in states like Goa and Manipur—was somehow missing. To be fair, he and others were also reeling from the lack of majority, after many TV channels put their tally at a huge 120 by noon.
More seriously, there are suspicions within the Sangh that there was possible lack of enthusiasm to ensure the survival of “minority” government of Yeddyurappa because of internal rivalries and antipathy.
This is said to be a key factor why the Prime Minister skipped the oath-taking ceremony of Yeddyurappa. Neither did he share his joy on Twitter over the return of the BJP to power in the southern state. Likewise, party chief Amit Shah, who had camped for two long months in Karnataka during the election campaign, also conspicuously stayed away from the swearing-in.