Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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The Post-Feudal Lords

Karnataka politics is centred on caste patronage. Hence Yeddy.

The Post-Feudal Lords Illustration by Sorit

The reaction to the latest report of the Karnataka Lokayukta has focused almost entirely on the fortunes of chief minister B.S Yediyurappa, despite the report also indicting several senior ministers and leaders of other political parties. The fuss over Yediyurappa may be designed to catch popular interest but it brushes under the carpet a much more serious concern: the growing conflict between the dynamics of local politics, and political parties as we understand them.

Not too long ago, political parties in Karnataka were held together by some sets of common ideas, mostly presented through individuals rather than manifestos, such as Devaraj Urs being associated with land reforms and Indira Gandhi with ‘garibi hatao’. The consensus about such measures led somewhere along the way to governance being seen as no more than the distribution of state patronage. The purpose of politics was to come to power so that the state’s resources could be distributed among those who brought you to power.

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