Karnataka polls: Narendra Modi has an opportunity to present himself as a statesman by backing off

Former film star and current politician Shatrughan Sinha has called on God to save Karnataka and democracy. But it is unlikely that God is that interested in the current mess. All that the voters on earth know is that they have been handed the short end of the stick and are stuck with the threat of ongoing non-governance.

Even as the Congress adds to the confusion by seeking mandates in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya based on the Karnakata precedent and governors in states like Bihar prepare to host the bids of leaders of the single largest parties who are presently sitting in the Opposition, the ball is deep in the prime minister’s court. It is a great time for Narendra Modi to act like a statesman. If only Modi asked Governor Vajubhai Vala to revoke the fifteen-day window to the BJP and asked the party to sit in the Opposition instead, before this chaotic condition got out of hand. Let the unholy alliance between the Congress and the JD(S) cobble a majority coalition and when it all falls down, the BJP can pick up the pieces and emerge so much stronger and with a public mandate of gratitude.

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

File image of pPime Minister Narendra Modi. AP.

Now, it is even more of an imperative. With the Supreme Court calling on the nascent chief minister to prove the maths on Saturday, the BJP is taking a chance that could leave it looking silly and even shown the door. The prime minister could turn it all to advantage by pre-empting the top judicial body’s order and making it redundant. All he has to do is call it quits.

The greed for power is so strong that the ‘waiting game’ has never been a viable first option. With splinter groups within the JD(S) pretty much packing their bags and the Congress going into ‘save’ mode by corralling its members like they were sheep, the rickety situation coming together is an ideal situation for Modi to exploit. Even if it is said he has seen the writing on the wall and is ducking the Supreme Court, it is better than being left high and dry by a shortage of numbers. With his rhetorical prowess, he can boom his speech from some rampart, saying he is seeing the bigger picture, doing it for the greater good, stemming the rot right here. No need for the epidemic to spread to other states, we are walking away.

Not only will he be hailed as a visionary but it paves the way for the 2019 general election. He would be the man. It dramatically widens the gap between him as a personality and anyone else who might be a pretender to the throne. No one will be able to fling mud at him for what would be an astute political move.

It is bad enough that you have your own Supreme Court question your ability to produce the magic number of 112 and be castigated just to hold onto a power base that can only be ‘consolidated’ on day sixteen by horse-trading, payoffs, bribery, corruption and threat. There is no magic except shoddy tactics that could help the BJP reach the required strength in 24 hours.

How then is the Modi doctrine any different from the others?

What a splendid chance Modi has to tell Yeddyurappa to step down, then dismantle this tacky, temporary tent and walk away. It is the most delightful win-win situation for the prime minister and would be a shining example of good governance. It would also leave God free to engage in more important exercises.


Updated Date: May 18, 2018 19:26 PM

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