BS Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka this morning with BJP emerging as the single largest party securing 104 seats at the Assembly elections 2018. However, lack of majority has paved way for a possible coalition between INC and JD(S), a situation similar to that in 2004.
The split verdict indicates the trend reflected for about three decades in the political system of Karnataka, which highlights that the ruling party in Karnataka is never voted back to power for a second consecutive term. Immediately realizing the necessity to keep BJP away from power, rivals Congress and JD(S) decided to form a government with the coalition, backing H.D. Kumaraswamy for the position of Chief Minister. With Governor Vajubhai Vala’s invitation to B S Yeddyurappa to form the Government, the party has been given 15 days time to prove its majority, which is an extension of seven days time period given earlier. We have seen previously how BJP has been able to take the time given to form Government to its advantage. A similar situation post election was seen earlier this year during Meghalaya polls where the Congress emerged as the single largest party obtaining 21 out of 59 seats. However, BJP who got two seats, joined hands with the National People’s Party along with other regional parties to secure a majority. Post poll alliance was also witnessed during 2017 in the constituencies of Goa and Manipur where BJP, despite having lesser seats, was able to form the Government.
Majorly, two reasons are seen as the probable cause of discontent with the ruling government. One, the decision to give the Lingayat community a separate status, which was considered as a successful political manoeuvre backfired as BJP gained bigger share of votes in the areas dominated by Lingayats. Two, increasing suicide of farmers has added to the growing dissatisfaction against the ruling party in the state. Inadequate rainfall accompanied by dispute over the Cauvery river was a major cause of lower farm productivity. This, along with the loan waiver policy limited to state cooperative banks led to agitation amongst the farmers.
However, the election results could let us in on what is in store for the upcoming elections. Whether BJP is able to gain majority in Karnataka or not, it’s unfolding as the single largest party could be a morale booster for the year leading up to the Lok Sabha polls.
Politics + Marketing
The year 2008 was a year that truly put political marketing in the spotlight especially in the United States. Candidate Obama was not just a candidate but had become a ‘brand’ with a campaign greatly boosted by social media, the result – he won the Presidential election. Barack Obama was named Advertising Age’s marketer of the year, the first time a politician conferred with such a title.
His innovative use of online and social media tools allowed millions of supporters to easily get involved in the campaign, igniting a movement never seen before in American elections. Years later, it was time for India to revolutionize their political background. History was meant to be created – it was time for 2014 elections! Indian political parties now wanted to engage their voters regardless of caste, community and religion and they knew just how -they leveraged the power of social media.
The two things that stood out for the 2014 elections were the famous campaigns – #NAMO, #Achchedin. BJP ran these two campaigns on their social media platforms and the rest is history! BJP has had a victorious journey ever since, and we have our first tech savvy PM- Shri Narendra Modi. With 42.5 million twitter followers, hon’ble PM Modi is one of the most powerful brands in the world. Overall, the use of social media in Indian politics has increased tremendously, we will only have to wait and watch whether the strategy proves to be a success in 2019.
While coalition may help a certain party to come to power, it also puts the majority of population at stake, who might have voted against the ruling party. It questions the basic rules of democracy, which gives the citizens of India the right to choose their leader. In such cases, the voice that goes unheard is the voice of common people who have come forward to choose their respective leader and in the end money and marketing prevail over rights and freedom.