It stands to reason that political parties going into electoral battle with alliances in place have an advantage over go-it-aloners. Well, reason has been tossed out with the salad after the results of the Karnataka elections trickled out on Tuesday afternoon. With the numbers that the three major parties clocked, there seems to be wisdom for, at least, the Janata Dal (Secular) to have stayed single till it managed to hook-up with Congress making HD Kumaraswamy the chief minister who came in from the backdoor.
The Congress ‘doing a Goa-Manipur’ in Karnataka – the BJP having already honed the fine art of post-poll alliances (PPAs) in the 2017 assembly polls despite Congress being the single largest party in these two states – now not only makes the strongest case yet for PPAs, but makes them downright fashionable.
Here are five reasons why PPAs, despite what mother says, is good for democracy.
1. Going into elections, every party will think twice before launching forth a barrage of personal attacks on its adversaries. There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. But it would be downright ridiculous – and too in-your-face – to badmouth someone who you jolly well may end up living with after the polls. So, PPAs could jolly well usher a new climate of polite electoral politics.
2. The usual whine about EVMs (electronic voting machines) being rigged – something that the Congress had started muttering on Tuesday early afternoon as it became clear that it wouldn’t be the single largest party – is going to come to an end.
With chances of forming government not over till a hall full of fat man sing out slogans, EVMs can’t be the fall-guy any more. So, PPAs could finally manage to do what the Election Commission hasn’t been able to: allay fears of EVM-rigging.
3. PPAs leave the party whose ‘help’ is sought to bulk up and form a government vulnerable. In Karnataka’s case, incumbent Chief Minister and JD(S) chief Kumaraswamy will be constantly looking over his shoulder – and those of the 38 legislators from his party – to see that they are not whisked away by burglers by the party whose, well, party has been pooped by the PPA.
Which in the latest case means that any BJP MLA seen in a canteen or having coffee with a JD(S) counterpart will send alarm bells ringing. Which means that the JD(S) will take good care of its own men, perhaps even more than if it had somehow notched up majority figures.
4. As an extension of holding the Brady Bunch together, PPAs will mean getaways for party MLAs each time there is a vote of confidence – or of the lack of the same. Recall how Congress Gujarat MLAs were shunted off to a fab getaway in end-July 2017 ahead of Rajya Sabha elections some 10 days later.
As it happened, the Gujarat Congress ‘company offsite’ took place at the swank Eagleton Gold Resort – with its ‘award-winning 18-hole international standard championship golf course’ at Bidadi, situated on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway in Karnataka. Political life can get better, with getaways with one’s colleagues with PPAs.
5. And frankly, the best reason for PPAs is why you’re reading this in the first place: dull, ho-hum state elections, which are supposed to matter only to those who have voted, become of intense interest and speculation for a whole nation. When did you last hear north Indians – including the likes of Mayawati – get so interested in the Karnataka state elections?
Till yesterday, it was all about farmer distress, loan waivers, the Bengaluru Metro and whether Narendra Modi would win or lose this one. Frankly, b-o-r-i-n-g even if important. With the drama that inevitably accompanies PPAs, Karnataka 2018 has come out as entertaining, and post-election hours-affirming as a Baahubali franchise.
PPAs, keep them rolling!
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.