E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The Ace Political Expert (APE) has seen it all. Having cut his teeth in the stables of Karnataka politics, he has seen leaders come and go, but his assessment of leaders have been usually dead right.
I ran into him in Vidyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar while he eyeing his rave vade, which is the starter before the masala dose is heralded into the table. He invited me to join him. I thought I should never let this opportunity go a waste.
“Why are so many MLAs are resigning and joining BJP? Isn’t this unprecedented?” I started off.
“It is. Even Chanakya must be applauding this strategy in his grave, if he is still there. Our present leaders would have taught Chanakya a thing or two on how weaken your opposition. Whatever Chankya wrote in Arthashastra was how to battle out your opposition which was really the kings of other kingdoms, but in the present context the enemies are Congress and JD( S).”
“How far do you think this will go? Apparently the CM has invited everyone to join BJP.”
“It will go really far, all the way. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if the CM appoints a minister in charge of defection. While the CM would hold the entire cabinet responsible for encouraging and engineering defections, naturally you have to put a system in place so that all are suitably accommodated. For instance, if , say, the leader of opposition is ready to defect, CM would not want to be caught napping. He should have a ready portfolio, a weighty one at that, to offer to the dignitary.”
“Will any junior minister be able to handle such a sensitive portfolio—MOD—Minister for Defections?”
“You are right. On second thoughts, I think the CM himself should handle this. We may come to a situation where there wouldn’t be any opposition at all what with all MLAs, er, ministers handling some portfolio or the other. As it is, the work of some ministers has been reduced so as to give some work to the new ministers.”
“Won’t there be any constitutional crisis? For instance, who will do the walkout when Governor opens the budget session? Who will run to the well of the House?”
“These are extraordinary times and we should get used to extraordinary situations. May be a lot of work will get done in under the present government with no responsible opposition, but only responsible ministers.”
“How do you think the present CM and former CM will work? Will they work together at least now?”
“You forget this is not a coalition government now. It is BJP government with all MLAs belonging to the BJP coming in by the way of by-elections. There would not be any clash of interest. My only worry is: will the CM find time to do any work at all, I mean real work as a CM? After engineering defections, he will have to break his head over portfolio allocation, seniority, housing etc. Where will he find time for leading the farmers, IT-BT, infrastructure etc?”
“Won’t it be easy to rule without any opposition?” I asked.
“Our CM would have to be better than Chanakya to do that! There are not so many mines in Karnataka to take care of interests of so many MLAs. That would be a challenge to him and a test of his mettle,” concluded the APE.