Archives  >  2019  >  July  >  8th

The Karnataka Question

1. What’s the story?

Fourteen Congress and JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka have resigned, sending the state’s (notoriously wobbly) coalition government into a tizzy. The rebel MLAs, ten of whom are currently behind closed doors in Mumbai’s Sofitel Hotel, have made their positions very clear – they are not going back to the mothership.

Tell me more.
Back in 2018, Congress had pulled off the seemingly impossible task of forming a coalition government in Karnataka. Post the state assembly elections held on May that year, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had emerged with the largest number of wins. It had won 105 of the 224 seats available. Congress won 78 seats, while Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] had just 37 wins in its kitty. However, Congress and JD(S) had set their differences aside and struck up an alliance, with JD(S) member H D Kumaraswamy at the helm.

The coalition, though, had been shaky from the start — with Kumaraswamy complaining of Congress interference right from the very beginning. On one memorable occasion, he had also burst into tears.

According to some, the inability of the two parties to peacefully share power is what ultimately led to this dramatic turn of events. Two power centres meant not enough ministerial positions for party loyalists, leading to grumblings on both sides. Congress MLA Anand Singh was the first to tend his resignation on the 1 st of this month, swiftly followed by a barrage of others over the next few days. Ramalinga Reddy, Congress heavyweight and former state home minister, is another big name among the defectors.

[Quick calculation: If we take away the 14 rebels, two independents, and one Bahujam Samaj Party (BSP) MLA from the current government, it leaves the coalition with only 101 seats. BJP, as we had mentioned earlier, currently has 105 seats.]

So, what now?
Congress is, of course, not happy. The party has accused BJP of masterminding this dramatic turn of events, alleging that they want to weaken regional governments. According to them, the plane used to fly the rebel MLAs to Mumbai belonged to a firm associated with BJP Rajya Sabha member, Rajeev Chandrasekhar – definitive proof of BJP’s meddling.

Keep your eyes on Karnataka y’all. The next 24 hours are going to be interesting.

2. What else should I be looking at?

The entire Congress leadership, that’s what. Currently, its woes seem to be never-ending. Rahul Gandhi’s recent resignation as the party president (after Congress’ dismal performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections) seems to have opened the veritable floodgates. Star Congress politicians, such as Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, and Keshav Chand Yadav have all resigned from their posts in the past 48 hours, plunging the party machinery into total chaos.

Meanwhile, BJP’s Subramanian Swamy thinks that Rahul Gandhi is addicted to cocaine. When it rains, it truly does pour.

3. What more?

India’s Union Budget was tabled in the Parliament last Friday, with mixed response from the market. In case you haven’t caught up yet, here’s a quick, “sporty” summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s “…sojourn at the crease can be divided into three clear spells, as she went from an aggressive batswoman to an erratic accountant before finally walking back, cautiously, to the dressing room.”

4. Anything else?

The United States’ Women Football Team has just won its fourth World Cup – and maybe also its battle against unequal pay. (Quick recap: An analysis of the women’s team’s earnings found that each member earned an average of $90,000 in World Cup bonuses. They would have earned $550,000 each if they had been men.) The US men’s team, though? It just wants to be left out of this rigmarole.

5. Is that all?

Earlier this year, the European Union (EU) ambitiously launched an early-warning system about Russian propaganda in internal elections. Well, it’s struggling already.

6. Before you leave…

Take a look at how Boy Scouts are healing the war-torn country of Central African Republic. (Quick recap: A civil war has been ravaging Central African Republic since 2013. Currently, sectarian violence runs rampant in the country, and its current economy is mostly dependent on foreign aid.)

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