This seems to be a period of dissidence in all the three political parties in Karnataka. If the JD(S) is battling for survival against its seismic turmoil, there is ostensible bickering in the Congress where a few disgruntled elements are assuming larger than life image, spearheaded by a very senior member. Another member is out to prove that he can make anybody blush without a script in hand. In the BJP, ambitious leaders are demonstrating that they have an axe to grind with the party president.
True, dissidence is part of political culture. But how do you express it and what ideology you follow reveal the individual’s true attitude and culture. We have had examples in the past. When Kamraj plan was executed, members took it in true spirit and made way for much required changes. After all, it is the prerogative of the Chief Minister to appoint or remove anybody. He needn’t explain it. If the aggrieved members in Karnataka had made way for changes sans vituperation, they would have contributed a lot to improve the party image and gained a lot individually. They would not have been pushed into oblivion. Their services maybe be used in some form or the other. They need to exercise constraint.
There is a different kind of example in history: Vishwanath Prathap Singh had fallen out with the then PM Rajiv Gandhi as a result of Bofors backlash. The party sacked him. V P Singh picked up the gauntlet, contested the Lok Sabha elections, and lo behold, he won it and became the Prime Minister. Can the disgruntled elements in Karnataka do that? Can the lead the party in elections, win them, become CM, HM, FM… People, who have created a record of sorts by not speaking a word in the Lok Sabha during their tenure, would have to think twice before throwing the spanner in the ring. With the help of a few temporarily hired goondas blocking the highway, burning tyres doesn’t make anyone a leader.
Another self righteous elderly leader, whose influence is suspect beyond his main gate of his house, is speaking in a language that befits only an acronym of a gentleman. He couldn’t get his grandson elected. Ironically, none remembers him in the party for any work.
The century-old Congress with only 44 seats in the Lok Sabha is suffocated without a mass leader. The top two leaders are on bail. The party is losing election after election. If the same trend continuous, I’m afraid, the Congress will be relegated to the state of a regional party. Except for a few politically inconsequential states, Karnataka is the only state where Congress is in power. Who won it for the Congress three years ago, displacing the incumbent BJP? The current Home Minister had himself lost the election. If the JD(S) is the most beleaguered party in Karnataka because of its presumptive oligarchic leadership, the Congress is being harassed by a handful of its own members to make it easy for the BJP to achieve its dream.
There isn’t one single example of these leaders defending the party from the opposition assault in the cases like National Herald, Ishrat Jahan, Helicopter, Robert Vadra and what not. They want all the benefits from the party but what have they done to refurbish its sagging image?