ISSN 2330-717X

Dance Of Democracy In India: Case Study Of Karnataka Elections – OpEd


After a bitterly contested assembly election in Karnataka state in India in May 2018, the result was a hung assembly, with no individual party getting absolute majority. The Karnataka Governor, who has to invite a party to form the government in a situation when no party has got absolute majority, faced a piquant situation. Finally, the governor has taken his decision.

The Governor’s decision is applauded by some and criticized by others and now hotly debated in India. Some people say that the governor’s decision amounts to violating democratic principles and others argue that he has acted correctly.

Is the decision of Karnataka Governor to call BJP to form government wrong?

After the Karnataka election, when BJP with 104 seats and Congress and JDS combine with 116 seats staked claims to form government, Karnataka Governor justifiably and reasonably invited the BJP to form the government and asked it to undergo a floor test within fifteen days.

Though Congress and JDS combined have 116 seats, the ground reality is that it is a post-election alliance and not pre-election alliance. If it were pre-election alliance, governor would have accepted their claim.

During the election, JDS and Congress abused each other in the campaign, contested against each other and in some seats Congress defeated JDS and in some other seats JDS defeated Congress. Even the Chief Minister was defeated by a JDS candidate.

The Governor must be wondering as to how can these two parties who were such bitter rivals seven days back could join together and run the government. Can they give a stable government or will they continue the quarrel? The Governor must have considered the alliance as opportunistic alliance devoid of principles that would not result in stable government.

The governor could neither believe BJP’s claim nor believe Congress and JDS.

In the circumstances, the only option left for the governor was to invite the party with largest number of seats to form government and test the majority in the floor of the assembly.

If BJP would lose, then its claim would be proved wrong. Then, Congress, JDS combined would form the government.

If JDS Congress combine would be so confident of their majority, then why could not they defeat the BJP government in the assembly and assume power. The JDS Congress combine complain that BJP may indulge in horse trading. Are their MLAs only horses? Have they given seats to horses to contest?

By accusing the Governor with all sorts of impolite language and Congress President talking about democracy in Pakistan in derisive terms and comparing the Karnataka situation to the scenario in Pakistan, the Congress JDS combine is not showing any quality of maturity.

Why drag Pakistan in this Karnataka controversy? It is extremely unfair and unwarranted.

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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