Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The consequences of JDS-Cong government on 2019 elections

The final outcome in Karnataka, as it emerged after many twists and turns, is the worst possible for the BJP, worse even than the Congress is the largest party with a majority. Three consequences, ominous for the BJP, are evident.

First, a Congress-JD(S) pre-poll alliance is now a certainty for the 2019 parliamentary elections. These two parties may have poured vitriol over each other during the recent election campaign, but now they are joined together in sharing power, and power is a very strong glue. Their combined vote share is an unbeatable 56.4 percent. If the Congress had emerged as the largest party with the majority in the Assembly, there would have been no incentive for it to negotiate a pre-poll alliance with JD(S) in 2019. However, now it has no option but to compromise and take the JD(S) as its partner before initiating the campaign for the parliamentary election. In 2019, the BJP will face a strongly unified opposition in Karnataka which is a nightmare scenario for it.

Second, the formula for seat sharing for the Congress-JD(S) alliance for the 2019 election stands worked out. For any political alliance, the biggest stumbling block is the sharing of seats between the partners. But now that hurdle does not exist, as the figures of votes polled in the Assembly election, calculated for each parliamentary constituency, will give a clear objective basis to decide whether the seat should go to the Congress or to the JD(S). In all likelihood, the seat sharing will be worked out by the alliance partners well in time and without any rancor.

The third and the most important consequence of the Karnataka outcome is that those forces within the Congress party will be strengthened which are arguing for the Congress to swallow its pride and proactively seek alliances with state/regional political parties, as a junior partner if necessary, to stop the BJP juggernaut in 2019. As this political reality sinks in the Congress consciousness, the possibility of coming together of anti-BJP political forces improves, which is presently the only answer to its majoritarian politics. Remember that in 2014, the BJP could muster only 31 percent of votes at the national level, but could cross the halfway mark in parliamentary seats because the remaining 69 percent was divided among various other contenders.

Copy edited by Adam Rizvi

Jawed Usmani currently holds the statutory position of Chief Information Commissioner of Uttar Pradesh, to which he was appointed in 2015 for a five-year period. In a career spanning more than 37 years at global, national, state and district levels with the Indian Administrative Service, Usmani served at the highest echelons of the federal and state governments, including more than eight years as Joint Secretary in the office of the Prime Minister of India, coordinating key social and economic portfolios. At the State level, he worked as Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and also as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, where he coordinated and supervised the functioning of all departments of the government. Jawed Usmani holds the degree of M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and M.Sc. in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics.

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