After the Exit polls results, everyone expected that if the results turned out the same way as predicted, the political natakas that Karnataka is so infamous for, will see a Friday release on 24 May.
But in a surprise move, there was a trailer release on Tuesday. It featured senior Congress leader and prominent Muslim leader Roshan Baig in the leading role with the script laced with punch dialogues. The three antagonists in Baig’s political thriller were AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka KC Venugopal, former CM Siddaramaiah and PCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao.
Baig was in Indian Political League T20 pinch hitting mode. Off the first ball, he hit Venugopal calling him a buffoon, off the second, he branded Siddaramaiah as an arrogant leader and off the third, dismissed Dinesh Gundu Rao as a flow show president.
What caused this B(a)ig cloudburst on the Congress?
One, Baig seems to have seen the writing on the wall or is atleast convinced the exit polls that have predicted the BJP will do better than the Congress-JDS alliance in Karnataka, are correct. Baig even went to the extent of saying Muslims should compromise with the BJP, blaming the Congress for having given just one seat to a Muslim candidate. He himself was reportedly eyeing the Bengaluru central seat.
Two, this is Baig’s resentment at not being made minister in the Kumaraswamy cabinet finding expression and he saw this as an opportune moment to strike.
Three, this could be the beginning of the trouble in the Karnataka Congress camp if the exit poll numbers come true on Thursday and may even lead to the downfall of its coalition govt in Bengaluru.
Four, Baig’s accusation that ministries were sold is huge. Remember, he is not just another karyakarta, he has been a leading light of the Karnataka Congress. This is a charge that must be investigated.
Five, Baig says Kumaraswamy is not allowed to function as chief minister. “How can I blame him?” he asked.
For now, Baig has denied he is joining the BJP. And why would BJP want him immediately when he can do more damage to the Congress by being one of them until he is expelled.
Gundu Rao has called Baig’s remarks “political opportunism” and the Karnataka Congress has asked him to show cause and reply within a week.
But a lot may happen within the week because by then we will know who has come to power in Delhi and whether the alliance has done reasonably well. The Karnataka coalition sarkar is afflicted with the cancer of dissidence and individual ambition and you cannot fix it with Band aid.
Even at the time it was formed, it came with an expiry date of the day the results to the Lok Sabha elections will be announced. Forming the government in Bengaluru last May was important because Rahul Gandhi wanted to show his party can run a coalition well while sacrificing the top job to a junior partner.
But if more Roshan Baigs emerge in the party post Thursday, it will be tough to salvage the government. Especially with an eager BJP waiting in the wings. Which is perhaps why Venugopal has been asked to speak with Kumaraswamy and other senior Congress leaders to ensure there is no panic reaction to the results, should they go against expectations, on Thursday.