ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Structural Malaise

Money power has torn apart the formal political institutions in Karnataka.

The immediate threat to the B S Yeddyurappa government in Karnataka has passed, but what of the structural malaise in the legislative politics of the state? Moneyed interests now rule Karnataka. They decide which party forms the government, they decide who should be ministers and, of course, they decide what state policy should be. This is not new to the states of the union, nor is it new to Karnataka. But the depth to which political immorality descended during the recent rebellion of a section of the legislators was surely not seen earlier.

Since the 2004 elections, when Karnataka entered a phase of a three-way tussle for power among the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)], the state has seen unstable governments and uneasy alliances. As is the wont of the parliamentary system everywhere in the country, in Karnataka too this struggle for power has not been carried out by mobilisation on the basis of programmes and ideology, but by mobilisation of financial resources. In Karnataka the old stalwart, the Congress Party, has found itself worsted by the BJP. The JD(S) has not been left behind, having been in power long enough to build its financial “base” among the real estate and contractor lobby.

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