MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: One puzzling aspect of the political scenario in Karnataka has been the ruling BJP’s penchant for poaching the members of the opposition.
One could understand their dilemma during the time of the formation of the government, or even the recent trust votes, when there was uncertainty over the numbers.
But why should it persist in this endeavour, when, for all practical purposes, the B.S. Yediyurappa government finds itself safely ensconced in power and when it could attract adverse comments, giving a handle to its detractors?
One can immediately point to the two pending petitions challenging the disqualification filed by the five independents and 11 BJP legislators separately and argue that the BJP probably wants be on guard to ensure that it is safe in case of any exigency. But a closer look at the ground realities reveals that the fears are misplaced.
As far as the first case pertaining to the independents is concerned, it is true that the situation is a bit tricky, since the independents cannot be treated on a par with the party legislators technically in the matter of disqualification. In the event of the high court annulling the speaker’s action, the BJP has hardly anything to worry; it has already fortified itself against such a possibility.
Let’s come to the second case filed by the 11 BJP legislators. Here, too, the BJP’s anxiety over a possible adverse verdict appears to be misplaced.
What happens in that contingency is that the concerned legislators return to the fold of the parent party and do not under any circumstances swell the ranks of the opposition. And they hardly get any chance of acting openly against the government on the floor of the house, because of the Damocles’ sword of disqualification falling on them once again.
And the only option they have is to pursue their agenda for the change of the leadership within the party forum, where they have hardly any chance of success.
Having had the foretaste of what it means to be disqualified, they would be in chastened mood and would be averse to carry the game of political adventurism once again. They would be happier to retain the membership of the legislature rather than taking one more risky step again.
But once thing is sure. Their career in politics for all practical purpose is over for most of them. In the BJP, they would surely find themselves in the dog house. Since most of them happen to be political novices, the non-BJP parties may not have much use of them later on, once their utility is over.
If the BJP has launched the second phase of the Operation Kamala, with a view to hoisting the opposition with its own petard, as it were, in a bid to avenge the predicament it suffered as a consequence of the opposition’s action in weaning away a group of legislators, it is a different cup of tea.