What are the lessons to be learnt from Karnataka?

File photo of Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot and Siddaramaiah along with JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy meeting Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru

BJP would do everything to not let Congress-JD(S) government to be formed in Karnataka. But, with Congress and JD(S) coming together, the Rathyatra of Modi has been halted. This is only the beginning

How messier and chaotic can elections results be, has been reflected in Karnataka and therefore, the implications of this mess will also be very complex as the year 2019 approaches. In fact, the consequences will not only be political but also structural. For the Congress Party Karnataka presents a grand opportunity and also a tough challenge. Indeed, it is a challenge to all secular, liberal and democratic parties. If individually or collectively they fail to rise above their egos or identities, then the whole ethos of the freedom movement and its values will be seriously endangered.

The government led by Narendra Modi has a one point agenda : to erase not only the history of the glorious independence struggle, but also to establish an authoritarian regime. Actually, the correct term for this is Fascism! But this is an Indian version of Fascism. The term may have its origin in recent European history, but it has led to multiple manifestations, with similar sinister, violent and anti-human civilisational forms.

For the past four years, really speaking for the past six years, India is passing through the most turbulent phase. No party or pundit had anticipated this phase though Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru had warned us, soon after independence. In a letter written to the chief ministers in September 1947, that is almost four months before the murder of the Mahatma, he wrote that the real threat to India is from the organisations like the RSS, with its Nazi style of mobilisation, its vicious and violent approach, its chauvinistic nationalism and frighteningly narrow world view. He underlined that if these forces ever come to power in India, they will disrupt and destroy the democratic institutions.

We as Indians, did not take the warning as seriously as we should have. In the last four years we have seen the Modi Juggernaut bulldozing one after another institution. He is carrying out that destruction in superficially democratic manner. His party received majority at the centre, actually a thin one, that is 282 seats, with just nine more than necessary for the simple majority. But the frenzy Modi and his men and the RSS have created is a direct parallel to Hitler’s Germany in the thirties.

Though the Congress and the JD(S) had their political differences, both of them share secular, liberal, democratic values. If they did not come together, it would have given the BJP a walkover, even if the Saffron Party did not get the majority. If Karnataka was lost, the year 2019, crucial election year, would have been in Modi’s command.

What has Karnataka election to do with all this? A lot! If Karnataka had delivered a verdict, giving the Modi-led BJP, a majority of its own (BJP president had visualised 130 seats out of 224), then the RSS regime would have been able to spread its tentacles south of Vindhyas. This phenomenon is known as “Friendly Fascism”. The well-known progressive American sociologist Bertram Gross has elaborated in his book with the same title, how Fascism can take root through democratic means. And once they usurp power, their agenda comes in full action.

In the last four years, Modi and his henchman, party president, Amit Shah have virtually taken over institutions which were created by independent India. The Planning Commission abolished, the democratic procedures and traditions of the institution of Governor undermined, the media subverted and brought under control, the election commission compromised, efforts made to subjugate judiciary, cabinet system marginalised by concentration of power in the PMO, the contempt towards the opposition parties and dialogue, the indifference towards Parliament, letting armed forces make political statements, the international forum like the Non Alignment Movement virtually given up. Many such instances can be cited.

There is a pattern in all these. After managing victories and manoeuvring governments in as many as 22 states, Modi had planned to penetrate the Southern India. Karnataka was supposed to be his entry point to make a dent south of Vindhyas. But his aggressive juggernaut was stopped by the Congress and Janata Dal (S). The BJP ended up with 103 seats instead of 130. The Congress and the Janata Dal, though fought against each other and also against the BJP, finally had numbers that can give them a majority in the house.

Though the Congress and the JD(S) had their political differences, both of them share secular, liberal, democratic values. If they did not come together, it would have given the BJP a walkover, even if the Saffron Party did not get the majority. If Karnataka was lost, the year 2019, crucial election year, would have been in Modi’s command.

However, the story is not over yet. The BJP still would do everything, guided by the PMO’s skulduggery to not let Congress-JD(S) government formed. The Modi-Shah duo would use “Saam-Dam-Dund-Bhed” to split the opposition, lure them with largese, blackmail and bribe to break their ranks, make governor act to the tunes of the centre. Somehow, they want control of all state governments before 2019. Their calculation is to win Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan in this December. But for that Karnataka impact was essential.

Now that Karnataka has halted the Rathyatra of Modi, by joining hands, the Congress and JD(S) have an opportunity to forge a national level secular, democratic, liberal front with common minimum programme. But it won’t be easy. There are suspicions and prejudices, egos and ambitions among the leaders of the anti-BJP parties.

It is not impossible to stop the fascist march of Modi. Though he thinks himself as invincible, he can be defeated in elections. During the next few months he may create mayhem and murder, communal riots and war-like atmosphere, generate fear psychosis, plan equivalent of Reichstag Fire and so on. But he can do that rather easily if he controls the levers of power in all state governments.

Luckily, the Congress and JD(S) have seen through the game and have come together. Now it is time to make all regional parties and other secular forces to come together to fight the indian version of fascism. Karnataka has shown the way. But it is a beginning, made out of political compulsions. It is necessary to convert it into a strong democratic front to protect, preserve and promote the values of the freedom struggle. Or else, the Modi regime will wipe out, not only the great Nehruvian legacy but also the whole Gandhian ethos and the values on which Idea of India.

For all the latest India News, Follow India Section.

Most Popular

Subscribe Newspaper