At the time of writing, there was no knowing when the tamasha in Karnataka will end, but there was not an iota of doubt that the H D Kumaraswamy Government has lost majority and is delaying the inevitable. Leaders of the beleaguered JD(S)-Congress coalition are still engaged in a desperate attempt to persuade the rebels to return. The rebels have no intention to do so. Reportedly, they are still avoiding contact with their former leaders and are holed up in a Mumbai hotel under the watchful eyes of the BJP leaders. Among the baits offered to the rebels was an alleged offer by Kumaraswamy to step down in favour of a Congress leader, given that some of the rebels are known Siddaramaih loyalists. The rebels, sixteen in total, thirteen from the Congress and three from the JD(S), were unimpressed. Another carrot offered was that the JD(S) would not join the ministry and instead support a Congress government from outside in order to accommodate more ministerial aspirants from the Congress Party. However, the rebels remained determined on pulling down the coalition government. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court declined the plea of two Independent MLAS, who were the latest to withdraw support yesterday, to issue a direction to the Speaker to hold the trust vote on Monday itself.
Why it did so was not clear given that in the past it had set short 24-hour timelines in such cases under similar circumstances. The Supreme Court also dismissed a plea by the Congress leaders accusing the State Governor Vajubhai Bala of interfering while the debate on the trust vote was already underway. On Friday, the Governor’s two missives to the Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar directing him to hold the vote by 1.30 p.m. , and later, by 6 o’clock the same day drew scant respect by the ruling party. However, on Monday, the Speaker seemed to be inclined to end the charade, insisting on the coalition to conduct the vote latest by the end of the day. However, the ruling party MLAs and ministers were engaged in filibustering, trying to run out the clock so that the House is adjourned for the next day. To begin with, the trust vote, sought by the Chief Minister on Friday, was scheduled to be over the same day, but as numbers eluded him he contrived to delay the denouement.
This is part of the low and opportunistic tactics all parties without exception employ to hoodwink the voters. But the voters are not be taken for a ride, when the time comes they register their protest voting out the culprits. It is why we are still hopeful that the central leadership of the BJP would be wise enough not to install its legislative party leader, B S Yeddyurappa, as chief minister and instead impose central rule in the State to be followed by shortly afterwards a fresh election. Otherwise, Yeddyurappa as chief minister would be vulnerable to the same trouble faced by Kumaraswamy. Karnataka is a relatively prosperous State, albeit saddled with enormous problems, especially water shortages not only in Bengaluru but in the rural hinterland for want of a good monsoon. Law and order too is a rising concern. The political uncertainty further deteriorates civil and police administrations. For Pete’s sake, let Karnataka at long last have a stable and purposeful administration, not the ramshackle alliance of the unwilling such as the former rivals-turned friends, JD(S) and the Congress formed last year with the sole objective of denying power to the largest party in the newly-elected Assembly
ISRO gets it right
The successful launch of Chandrayaan -2 on Monday is set to make India only the fourth country in the world to land on the moon surface, after Russia, the US and China. ( Wait soon for the moment when Pakistan puts its name on a China-built rocket and tries to land on the moon in order to boast of equivalence with this country. ) The launch was originally scheduled for July 15 but had to be postponed in the nick of time on discovery of a leak in the helium gas tank. Of course, it is a proud moment for all Indians, though any attempt to appropriate the credit by the ruling party would appear graceless since the Indian Space Research Organisation, manned by world-class engineers and scientists, has been a continuing effort for decades.
Soon after the launch, messages felicitating the ISRO on its feat began to flood the news wires. The spacecraft is set to carry out experiments on the lunar surface. Exploring space is an ongoing project even for the US and Russia, and before the world can gain enough knowledge to enlist outer space in aid of the humanity, it will remain somewhat of an esoteric science for the `aam aadmi`. It is enough for Indians to revel in the fact that we are among the handful of nations with an advanced technology to successfully land on the moon.
- S Sadanand
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