Why is the Kumarswami government falling in Karnataka?

Regional election in India: Hindu nationalists thwarted

The power struggle between the Hindu nationalists and the Congress Party in Karnataka gives a foretaste of the 2019 national elections.

Protesting supporters of the Congress Party on May 18 Photo: Reuters

BOMBAY taz | The vote count for the regional parliament of Karnataka was extremely exciting last week. It was tight until the end for the two people's parties, the Hindu nationalist BJP and the Congress Party, which has previously ruled in Karnataka. In the end, the BJP won 104 of the 222 seats with 36.4 percent of the vote. The previously ruling Congress got the most votes, but only 78 seats.

Recently, the Hindu nationalists of Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not ruled in the south of India. It will stay that way for the time being. Because the #BattleforKarnataka ultimately lost the BJP anyway.

The third largest party, Janata Dal (Secular), is now forming a coalition with Congress to prevent a Hindu nationalist government. JD (S) chairman H. D. Kumaraswamy, who has now become prime minister, had reported bribes amounting to the equivalent of twelve million euros. They were offered to MPs to give the BJP a majority.

In the previous regional elections in Goa and Manipur, the BJP had already been able to secure power by suddenly changing parties. Now the Supreme Court prevented this. He ruled that parties with a majority would initially have the right to form a government.

Supreme Court prevents mandate purchase

The BJP had already appointed a prime minister in the hope of being able to poach MPs for the necessary majority. Your candidate now had to resign after two days.

"I notice the aggressive advertising of the BJP," says the 25-year-old student Devia in Karnataka's capital Bangalore. In table discussions, arguments quickly break out, it is about Modi and his party. For members of religious minorities in particular, the rise of the Hindu nationalists has poisoned the social climate.

India's population is 80 percent Hindu, but there are over 170 million Muslims, 30 million Christians and 24 million Sikhs.

The BJP "tries to manipulate people's mindsets and distract them from the real problems," says the Muslim Syed. The Hindunationalist course is not only changing India's multicultural identity, it is also attacking secular institutions such as the judiciary or the education system.

Modi's charisma and rhetoric draws

In October 2014, the BJP replaced the Congress government at the national level. Since then, the BJP has won almost all regional elections and is now in power in 20 of the 29 states. Religion and ethnicity are their fuel. She attacks Congress as a pro-Muslim party and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his Italian-born mother Sonia as "Italians".

The BJP functionary Vijay Chauthaiwale sees his party confirmed. On the one hand through "[...] the enormous ability to reach voters through their basic network". This is achieved through the party-affiliated cadre organization RSS, which, like the BJP, stands for India's Hindu orientation. On the other hand, through “Modi's leadership, whom people have repeatedly expressed their deep trust in”. The charismatic speaker, who speaks Hindi and not English, was able to preserve his image as a reformer of the economy. Many of his promises remained unfulfilled.

Karnataka shows how the BJP is trying to gain power. The opposition was in a miserable state. The Congress party is burdened with corruption allegations from the past, it is still difficult to play the opposition role. Karnataka shows that regional parties are still important.

If Congress takes on the opposition role and leads an anti-BJP coalition, the party has a chance. In Karnataka she could no longer provide the prime minister, but she could at least prevent one of the BJP.