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Monday, October 8, 2007

It's not politics

The Karnataka politics right now is in such a fluid situation that it is difficult to predict anything. But one thing is sure: what we have been seeing over the past week wasn't politics. It was much worse than that.

Sure, politics is not just the art of governance; but it is also about strategising to obtain power. We saw ample evidence of that in Karnataka 20 months back, when a faction led by Kumaraswamy broke off the Congress-led coalition government, aligned with their arch rivals BJP and took the reigns of power.

In retrospect, the agreement worked out by Kumaraswamy and Yediyurappa was too ideal to have worked. Had the power been transferred on October 3, it would have been the epitome of a blemishless powersharing contract in practice. For, had Yediyurappa taken over and completed his 20 months quota, all three parties -- Congress, JD(S) and BJP -- would have run the government for 20 months each.

That would have been the first such instance in India -- 5 years split equally into three blocks of 20 months each. Someone would have even exclaimed how fair politics is played in India's world renowned tech-city!

Alas, that was not to be. All those who dreamed up this ideal scenario, were naive.

Politics is dirty. Who said it's clean? It's said that politics only looks clean. But isn't there also some limit to the extent to which it can get dirty? There is no morality in politics, okay; but isn't there also some limit to the extent of immorality in politics?

Readers who have been reading my postings on politics would be familiar with my line on how important politics is for a developing democratic country like India; how important that it does not descend below well-acknowledged levels of propriety in a civil society.

Deve Gowda's refusal to hand over power to BJP is objectionable mainly for one reason: because it was the failure to honour the word to given to an individual, to an organisation. A civil society runs on trust and faith. When at the pinnacle of state government administration, there is blatant contempt for solemn words of assurances and commitment, what message does that send across to others? There may have been similar or even worse breaches of propriety, which stick out as bad precedents; but definitely they aren't worth emulating.

There is an argument that when BJP joined hands with JD(S) they should have expected this, given the way party pulled the Dharam Singh government down. Partly true, BJP should have been doubly careful; they failed in proper strategising. But that doesn't take away the larger misdemeanour of an uncivil breach of trust and commitment. We can't afford to play politics of deceit. We can't afford fitter away the precious political capital this way.

Deve Gowda needs to explain what the people of the state gained from all these. It not enough to have just a government, but there has to be governance as well. But we don't even have a government.

2 comments:

  1. he should go back to farming - this chap-as they say back to grass roots.

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  2. politics as a discipline, is pure clean. however, the practicer of politics either by proxy (politicians) or the real believer in politics (scholars) determine the 'reality' of politics. the clashes of both have provided us with more than enough empirical evidence. although sometimes, it is proper for us to predict the future of politics among politicians, however, i would say that it would be improper for us to belief the predictions without having any slightest doubt.

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