Elections results in Karnataka may provide some clues on which way India may move in 2019, when the next general elections will be held. After the Karnataka elections, three important states in the so-called cow belt will go for polls. These states are Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Clearly, the party which will win Karnataka elections will have a head start in these states and if the winner in Karnataka can continue its winning spree in the heartland states, it is almost certain that the party will ascend the throne in Delhi and rule the country till 2024. So all the parties left no stone unturned to woo Karnataka voters. Thus it was a high-decibel campaign. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, despite his pressing schedule, addressed no less than 21 rallies in the State. BJP president Amit Shah was not left behind. Even before the elections were announced, he started visiting Karnataka to streamline party organisation and later stationed himself in the State to oversee and participate in the campaign. No less than 23 union ministers also participated in the campaign. Congress, which is ruling the State, made all efforts to match BJP. Party president Rahul Gandhi led from the front. He made a number of trips to Karnataka and made every effort to keep the morale of party workers and supporters high. Sonia Gandhi also addressed an election rally in Bijapur after a gap of two years. Chief Minister Siddharamiah travelled in majority of the constituencies in the State and campaigned.
But it’s a pity to note that even after the participation of galaxy of national and state leaders, the standard of the campaign was not up to the mark. Instead of focusing on the basic issues, the campaigners cutting across party lines adopted populist approaches to woo the voters. Clearly, they have failed to impress the people. The people wanted their views on the problems the people of Karnataka are facing. But their questions were not answered during the campaign. Both the Congress and BJP accused each other of corruption during the campaign, whilst vowing to root out corruption from its root, both the sides were generous to offer tickets to persons facing corruption charges. As a result, nearly 400 candidates with corruption charges are in the fray. Is this the way to make India corruption free? If corruption remains as it is, which is evident from the choices of candidates made by the warring parties, how will that solve the problems of the people of Karnataka? Roads will remain full of potholes as the contractors will pocket the fund meant for development by sharing a portion of it with corrupt leaders. Real Estate developers will continue to grab land by keeping political bosses happy and the farmers will be deprived of their livelihoods. To get the benefits of welfare programmes of the government, ordinary people will have to grease the palms of government officials. Everything will remain the same. Is it good governance? The question regarding Kaveri River water sharing dispute was not answered. Similarly, all other important issues were bypassed by our political leaders during campaigning. All in all, Karnataka Assembly elections may throw some light on possible winner in 2019 general elections, but people’s plight may remain the same regardless of which party forms the government in the southern State.