Karnataka politics on second gear

Is this the end of the road for the Reddy brothers? That they too seem to have decided is in the hands of god. Nevertheless, given the power of money, and they have a lot of it, it seems a bit far-fetched that the end is near.

But there's been one change that bodes well for Karnataka: a rapprochement between Siddaramaiah and the Janata Dal (S), read the Gowda family.

The united show put up by the Congress and the JD(S) in the Karnataka Assembly must be more worrying for Yeddyurappa than the constant sniping the Reddy brothers have made him endure.

Given precedent, one wouldn't be faulted to think that this bonhomie might be a short-lived one. There have been so many instances when the need for the JD(S) and the Congress to work in the tandem have been squandered. The result largely of bruised egos unable to let bygones be bygones. It was a very personal falling out, after all. I allude to the exit of people like Siddaramaiah.

That is why when a picture in the newspaper showed Siddaramaiah walking out of the Assembly hall in concert with H D Revanna, one can't help feel a bit relieved, hopeful.

The rise of the BJP in Karnataka is not only because of the squabbles between the secular parties. It would be naive to assume that, of course. But the disunity has definitely given the saffron outfit more than a edge.

Now, one is assuming that the Janata Dal (Secular) is secular because they are currently neither propping up the BJP government nor are running a government with the BJP. There are no guarantees either that they will not go back to being friends of the BJP in some future dispensation. The Gowda family are given to such swings – not wild by their standards.

There were distinct alternatives in Karnataka's politics with the rise of the Centre-right Janata parivar. The alternatives were for the people as well as politicians. The Left has been pretty small in the State. But the vice-like grip of the Gowda family over the Janata heritage has left no alternatives for ex-Janata stalwarts but to join the Congress.

Siddaramaiah, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly is from the Congress, but was once the most promising leader of the Janata Dal. The bitter falling apart of the Siddaramaiah and Deve Gowda is one big reason that has stymied any chance of a joint anti-BJP front by these two parties in Karnataka. There are other reasons too of course, but Siddaramaiah as a prominent Congress leader is one big problem.

The Reddy's and their machinations have been crass and incorrigible enough for the Gowdas and the ex-Janata Congressmen to bury the hatchet. It will yield results for the two parties. More importantly the communal brigade will struggle to stay in power, if not be completely defeated.

Some might even think that the end of the loot of the State that the Reddys have indulged is the more important than the defeat of communal forces. That position isn't much of a problem as long as the saffron brigade is kept away from the corridors of power.