As if to show that India’s two biggest political parties are cut from the same tainted cloth, the Congress-led government at the Centre and the BJP government in Karnataka have been slipping from scam to scam, crisis to crisis—and making a mockery of the people’s mandate—in a regular and nearly identical manner.
While the Manmohan Singh government’s scandal-marred second tenure, pockmarked with a brazen assault on free speech, is now part of political lore, the B.S. Yediyurappa-led (and now D.V. Sadananda Gowda led) regime in the State has fared far worse with more than a dozen ministers under scrutiny for financial (and sexual) corruption.
The communal undertones of one regime is matched by the casteist undertones of the other. Both regimes survive from court order to court order. And both seem convinced that the wise voter is actually a silly fool, who doesn’t read, hear or watch the news; and that she will forgive and forget the excesses if she is thrown a few crumbs and a saree.
But there is one key difference. The BJP government’s conduct and governance in Karnataka makes nonsense of the party’s sanctimonious posturing and fingerwagging about the Congress. Its always-vacuous claim of being a party with a difference, guided by high morals, is now a pathetic joke that cannot even be uttered in the presence of children.
The Congress’s big test will come in the UP and other state elections. But here’s the other question: will the BJP come to power in Karnataka if there is a snap election tomorrow? Or, like with the faction-ridden, leaderless BJP at the Centre, is the faction-ridden, leaderless Karnataka Congress in no position to exploit the pitiable state the BJP finds itself in?