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BJP Scrapes Through But Karnataka Politics Still Not Out Of The Woods

Even as allies Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) mull over their political journey, Karnataka's fluid politics hints at rampant corruption

BJP Scrapes Through But Karnataka Politics Still Not Out Of The Woods
Photograph by PTI
BJP Scrapes Through But Karnataka Politics Still Not Out Of The Woods
outlookindia.com
2019-08-02T10:39:02+05:30

It took a whole month for Karnat­aka’s protracted power struggle to uncoil. In the final act, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa needed only a voice vote to prove majority—the new BJP regime staved off an imp­ending shutdown by passing, just in time, the Appropriation Bill required to draw funds for government exp­enditure. So far, so good. But Karnataka’s troubles with its shaky politics aren’t over yet.

First, there’s still the controversial question of the disqualified legislators. Former Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar has disqualified 17 MLAs—13 from the Congress, three from Janata Dal (Secular) and the lone legislator of the regional outfit Karnataka Prajnavantha Janata Party—but it looks like a legal battle will follow. Ramesh Kumar quit as Speaker on July 29 soon after Yediyurappa’s floor test and, in doing so, made a fervent appeal for a clean-up of the political system. “Unless electoral reforms happen, our attempts to tackle corruption will only be perfunctory,” he told the House, adding that the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, the anti-­defection law, “needs a total re-look”. Kumar then turned to legislation that were within the assembly’s ambit, such as the Lokayukta Act, seeking clarity on the penal provision for legislators who refused to declare their assets and liabil­it­ies within the stipulated time. “If that isn’t spelt out, why have the law?” he pointed out.

Allegations of horse trading and defections have characterised Karnataka’s politics for the past month, but to most observers, the spectacle of legislators corralled in hotels and holiday resorts have been symptomatic of the state’s fluid politics for over a decade now. That mismatch with the state’s other persona—its technology-savvy...

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