Karnataka elections 2018: It would be over to resort politics if governor invites BJP to form government


If Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invites the single-largest party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to form government, a large number of successful candidates may have to spend days confined to resorts. It’s short of a few seats and the only way it can prove majority on the floor is if JD-S splits. The JD-S will closely guard its winners to prevent any such possibility.

This will be nothing new for Karnataka. During the last year Rajya Sabha elections, the Congress brought its Gujarat MLAs to a resort near Bengaluru to prevent them from giving in to pressure from other the BJP.

Karnataka has become a hub for “resort politics” of all hues with hardly any indirect election in the state and of late, in the country, not seeking the herding of elected representatives in one location till the polling is done, according to an ET report from last year.

Be it a local, state or Rajya Sabha polls, most of the times when elected representatives have to vote together, they have been put into resorts and treated like sheep who have to follow the orders of their masters. The report said it was first done in 1984, when the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh legislators were brought to Bengaluru by the legendary N T Rama Rao. Rao had to face a trust vote and for one month, his friend then Karnataka chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde accommodated the legislators at a resort in Devanahalli. Later, Congress CM Vilasrao Deshmukh of Maharashtra packed his MLAs off to Bengaluru in 2002, till he won his trust vote.

According to the report, such actions were sporadic till 2004, when Karnataka’s own political parties began herding their MLAs into resorts for meetings, decision making and ”to keep the flock together” ahead of any indirect election.

The 2004 state elections threw up a hung house, with BJP getting 90 seats, Congress 65 and the JD(S) 58 in the 224-member assembly. All JD(S) members were quickly taken to a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru, while the leaders did parleys with Congress to form Karnataka’s first coalition government. Only after decisions were made, were they allowed out to vote in the assembly on the CM/DyCM candidates.

The same happened in 2006, when JD(S) under H D Kumaraswamy decided to go with the BJP and ditched their then leader, Siddaramaiah. Till the second coalition was in place, they lived in resorts in Goa.

The BJP took up this method in 2008, when they formed government under B S Yeddyurappa, says the report. They had won 110 seats against the Congress’ 80 and were three short of a majority. Under mining baron and MLC G Janardhan Reddy’s leadership, first the independents, then several Congress and JD(S) MLAs were hosted at resorts.

In the current scenario when the BJP is the single-largest party but without enough numbers to form government on it own while the Congress and JD-S have come together, if the governor invites the BJP to form government and then prove majority, there could be a lot of struggle to poach as well as retain MLAs. And resorts will be in demand.

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