So the Nataka in Karnataka is over. From the euphoria of the initial counting when BJP was leading in 120 seats to the despondency when they ended up at 104; from the joy when B S Yeddyurappa took oath to the poignant moment, when he tearfully did a Vajpayee and resigned before the trust vote – the state saw tumultuous political developments in one week.
Proving most journalists and some pollsters wrong, the BJP performed extremely well in the elections with landslide wins in Coastal Karnataka, Central Karnataka and Mumbai-Karnataka. To everyone’s surprise, they did creditably well in Old Mysore when they are expected to get almost nothing there. In Hyderabad-Karnataka they almost drew even with Congress, which was creditable considering the area was a stronghold of Congress. But the shocker came in Bangalore, where the Congress outdid the BJP and emerged on top. This in spite of the woes Bangalore has faced over many years.
As PM Modi so aptly put it, the trio of George-Baig-Harris has demonstrated the ugly side of the Congress party to the hilt. The rise in crime rate exemplified by the rowdyism of Harris’ son, the blatant corruption, the suicides of honest officers are all a blemish thanks to this trio. But shockingly all three of them won comfortably. Bangalore’s name was tarnished by the foamy Bellandur lake which even caught fire. The maladministration of the city corporation (ironically run by a CON-JDS coalition), water problems, electricity problems, traffic problems, road problems – the city had problems galore. A day before the elections, rain-lashed Bangalore causing endless misery taking the city’s civic woes to its peak. It was expected that Bangalore, furious with the with the way Congress had ruined the city, would respond strongly and boot out the Congress. But surprisingly, Congress won 13/28 seats with BJP settling for 11. Constituencies of ministers Baig and Gundu Rao are most pathetic in terms of development, but yet they won comfortably! How did this happen?
This happened because Bangaloreans neglected their responsibility; when the entire state recorded a 72.36% voter turnout, Bangalore put up a pathetic show with only 54.72% of the voters turning up to vote. This has been a perennial problem with most urban areas, where citizens rant and rave throughout the area about how governments have failed them, but on voting day they don’t bother to discharge their responsibility.
Why did Bangalore record such a poor voting percentage?
1. The date of the election – fixed on a Saturday ensured a two-day holiday and many Bangaloreans, particularly from the MNC/IT sector took off to Coorg, Ooty and other places for a holiday – their logic being: a) All are crooks, why should I vote for them b) My one vote doesn’t matter
2. There were problems with the voter’s list and few voters found that their names had been deleted. The voter list is published and available on the EC website. But IT savvy Bangaloreans didn’t bother to check the list and woke on voting day to find out that their name was not there in the voter list.
3. Many just didn’t bother to leave the comforts of their homes to stand in the hot sun. Basic apathy and don’t care attitude of ‘let-them-fight-it-out-what-do-I-get’.
It is very clear that most of those who didn’t turn up to vote were BJP supporters. Those who turned out to vote were very clearly Congress supporters and there were many incidents of blatant voter bribing. Not that BJP are saints who don’t do this, but Congress is historically better at corrupting voters.
The end result is that BJP which could easily have won 15+ in Bangalore ended up with 11 only. The 7 seats would have changed the situation and we would have a BSY government in the state.
Now the state will see a JDS-CON coalition with the likes of George and DKS who have a dubious reputation back at the helm of affairs. When Congress-JDS who are running the city corporation could not do anything for the city, it is highly unlikely they will do anything for the city. Bangaloreans who don’t spare any occasion to outrage about the civic deterioration of the city will now have to sit back and watch the city sink as the ruling coalition would be more worried about managing their majority than development.
What have you done Bangaloreans? Your apathy and irresponsibility have led us to a situation wherein we are ruled by an unprincipled coalition which has no ideology, no philosophy and no development vision. Your failure to discharge your civic duties has resulted in a situation wherein we are likely to see the city and the state going backwards. And you can’t do anything now, you can only keep ranting and raving on social media and TV – your irresponsibility has hurt the state. Hopefully, at least in future elections, the city residents will realise how their apathy has hurt the state and put up a better show next time.