Election in Karnataka: a Semi-final or Practice Match before the next General Election!

It is Election Day tomorrow (5th May, 2013) for the State Assembly of Karnataka, India.

The country as a whole is struggling with corruption, rape and murder cases. One should not be surprised to know that Karnataka too is not far behind from the national average. The significant rise in criminal cases particularly in the city of Bangalore and mega corruption, mis-governance, routine in-fights in Parties and poor infrastructure are the major worries of the common man or aamjunta. Election in Karnataka is also important due to IT-industry’s presence in Bangalore. Every political party is definitely looking for a share – major or minor, that time will say. With General Election due in 2014, remember, the election in Karnataka may be the semi-final or a high temper practice match for all major political parties. No political party wants to lose; their fate lies in the hands of aamjunta.

Lets see how the major political Parties are talking about this Election-

Congress: Party chief Sonia Gandhi in an election rally at Gulbarga said that the “BJP Government has looted Karnataka and incited communal feelings”. In addition, she further lamented the BJP’s record on communal harmony by saying “we have always believed in communal harmony and are against forces which disrupt communal harmony.”

BJP: Star campaigner of BJP, Narendra Modi blasted at the UPA’s foreign policy and  criticized the Congress’ Rahul Gandhi. Apart from this, the other campaigners of BJP including the current Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar have been talking about the level of good governance the Party has delivered in the past and deploring the UPA for its corruption at the central level and step-motherly treatment in case of distribution of  Cauvery water and allocation of central funds to Karnataka.

JDS: Both the father-son duo, ex-PM Deva Gowda and Kumar Swamy have been talking about a clean and transparent government, ruling out dynasty in politics.

KJP: B S Yeddyurappa formed the KJP with two aims – to ensure BJP’s loss and be a part of the next government if the situation arises, such that  legal cases against him can be handled without any major drama or hassle. He too has been promising for a clean and transparent government and is ready to provide financial support to all religious places; all, which he could not do while he was in power.

But, what is ultimately going to rule the election?

Simple answer to most of the questions – “MCR” : Money, Caste and Religion PowerCritics and analysts say that any thing in the range of Rs 700/- to Rs 10,000/- is being spent per vote by many of the candidates. On an average, some of the candidates are reportedly spending more than Rs 30 crores per constituency.

This kind of bribing existed in the 2008 election too. After analysing the affidavits of 347 candidates who contested the 2008 Karnataka elections and are contesting this time too, the recent report disclosed by the Karnataka Election Watch indicates that in the last five years, their average asset increased over 72% (Rs 12.62 crore or so) !! It clearly shows that indeed politics is a very profitable business.

Caste is also playing major role in Karnataka politics. All political parties are busy in appeasing the voters of two major castes in Karnataka – The Lingayats and the Vokkaligas, comprising nearly 18% and 13% of the state’s electorate respectively. This divides Karnataka into northern and southern power bases.

Religion too plays a major role in Karnataka politics. Both the majorities and minorities are being lured in the process. All parties have promised to give special packages to religious activities; however, in reality it may not be true in future. Appeasing the minors or the other backward classes is quite apparent.

Muscle power too is holding some of the reigns of this Karnataka election. While the Congress has filed 55 candidates with criminal charges, the BJP is not far behind with 48. When the entire country is struggling with rising rape cases and sexual abuses or harassments, there are 2 ‘contesting’ candidates from the KJP with pending rape cases against them !

While every candidate is fighting for a win, political analysts term this election as the “Semi-final for 2014”. A win by BJP in Karnataka will definitely boost the morale of Narendra Modi’s candidature for the next Prime Minister, and a loss by BJP will augment the doubt on BJP’s ability to retain power outside its traditional political base in the north and hence, become a stumble for its run up to the 2014 National polls.

If Congress wins tomorrow’s election in Karnataka, it will definitely brush up the party’s image ahead of 2014 National elections and lift its sagging spirits; it may also alleviate an anti-Congress mood prevalent in most parts of the country mainly because of rising corruption, incidents of rape and meek or poor bilateral issues with our neighbouring countries. It may lead to early National elections too.

On a different note, a win by JDS will definitely increase the speculation of the formation of a 3rd Front in the next National election.

Irrespective of whoever comes to power, all the above factors will play major roles in the government and the governance. With rising corruption at the Centre and in many States, it looks like there is no solution of this particular issue in a single day. Like cancer, it has already spread to the roots of our system, our existence, our daily lives. Very often, we do not have an option but to pay bribes, small or big, if we need to get our work done smoothly or quickly, or done at all ! Such bribes are sometimes labelled in sugar-coated terms like ‘commission’ or ‘chai-pani’ (refreshments), mostly to stay away from legal implications. Though it is hard to accept, it is a fact. With corruption largely being a moral issue, Law Enforcement agencies have always found it hard to eradicate it through either use of force or preventive surveillance.

The worst thing happens when the common man, the aamjunta or the voter becomes corrupt. If our votes are sold to these corrupt leaders for a selfish, baseless favour or meagre cash or a bottle of wine or freebies, then whom can we blame ?

Jaago aamjunta, jaago… the wake-up call to the electorate…

This is the right time to show our strength, and make the system clean and strong. Let’s cast our precious vote not under the influence of “MCR” – Money, Caste and Religion, rather on our own conviction – a conviction that is largely based on morals and right knowledge. We need to do something substantial, which will make our life rewarding and us worthy aamjunta; not an useless and corrupt aamjunta. Let’s respect our dignity, our state and our country. The choice is definitely ours !!! It is not that far … just couple of hours more!!

Jai Hind!

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14 Responses

  1. hope this time, all the awareness generation campaigns (online /offline) work at least to some extent…

  2. Good thought. People’s memory is short, we are all GHAZINIs . So the thoughts /speech should not be wasted like “Aranya Rodhanam”. We need to follow Preach and Practice in our day to day life.

  3. Whom to vote?

    If you do not want to vote, then you may follow this.

    There is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section ” 49-O” that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn’t want to vote anyone!

    Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it.

    This is called “49-O”.

    Why should you go and say ” I VOTE NOBODY”… because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that
    particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way; of our whole political system… it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public….

    Please spread this news to as many as you know…
    Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India … show your power, expressing your desire NOT to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting… so don’t miss your chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this info on…

    Use your voting right for a better INDIA!!

  4. As per Rule 49-0:

    “Elector deciding not to vote.-If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark”.

    However, with the current election process, it is ineffective. This is because –

    “In the present election system, Ballot papers or the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are in use. They contain only the list of candidates. Hence, a voter cannot record his vote under Section 49-O directly through EVM or Ballot paper. Therefore, voter must inform the presiding officer at the election booth. This violates the secrecy of the ballot”.

    Note that, at present, in an election, a winner will be declared irrespective of the number of ‘non-votes’.

    @Smita: Thanks for your comment. However, your message that if the ’49-O’ votes are more than those of the winning candidate, then that poll will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled, is in-correct.

    May be you can refer this link for the detail: http://eci.nic.in/eci_main/press/current/pn051208.pdf

  5. What is the use of these articles, if the people are not interested to vote? 50% voting in Bangalore!! That too, where all the people are making noises in FB, Twitter, Anna movement! Did not find any word for this kind of attitude. They deserve nothing more than another corrupt government.

  6. I hope it is only a practice match. Congress is sniffing win in the state though they are the most corrupt. Final is yet be played!!

  7. Your article rightly analysed the caste based politics in Karnataka. Now congress own the election. Actually, they did not win, rather, BJP lost the election due to poor governance. Message to all parties – perform, or else we will perform (throw you out).

  8. A report says 93% of the 218 MLAs have assets in the crorepati bracket (only 3 MLAs have declared assets below 50 lakhs). The average asset per MLA in the state is currently Rs. 23.54 crore ! …Has there been any probe yet ? Otherwise, what is the actual significance of declaring assets before election ?!?

  9. Thank you all for your comments…

    Finally Mr. Ashwani Kumar and Mr. Pawan Bansal resigned. But the question is why the pawns are falling ?, the king should resign… It is high time for Dr. MMS to resign. What was Law Minister doing with CBI ? Saving PM, the ex-Coal Minister ? Now with these forced resignations, is PM accepting that his ministers are corrupt ? Another point … these ministers could have resigned some time back on their own, thus saving Parliament’s time !! Why such ego ? Looting and looting…….

    Another news .. Congress is bringing Mr. Mallikarjuna Kharge of Karnataka as the Railway Minister. This is to balance the power between the elected CM of Karnataka Mr. Siddharamaiah and the dissident Mr. Kharge.

    Had BJP taken this kind of measures, they surely would have been in power in Karnataka now. Hope they at least learn from their blunders !

  10. Good analysis. If this trend continues, then we will get the same corrupt government again in Delhi. I sincerely appeal the BJP and Mr. Kejeriwal to clean up the mess and fight jointly. United we stand and divided we fall.

  11. you know how to take the attention of the readers with such good ideas

  12. thank you sir for providing us such a great knowledge and sharing of great piece of life living with us. exactly happened in Karnataka, and I am worrying for India in that case in 2014.

  13. hi. i agree with your opinion. this post was very well written.

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