Karnataka election

BJP – or Congress plus JD(S)? Karnataka needs stability and better administration, say voters

From attempts at coalition governments to horse-trading to resort politics, old-timers in state capital Bengaluru have seen it before.

A day after the Karnataka election results gave no one party a clear majority, voters in the state are waiting to see who will form the next government.

On the morning of counting day on May 15, it seemed as if the BJP was well set to form the new government. But as the party fell short of nine seats to reach the majority mark of 113 in the 224-member Assembly, and with the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) announcing a post-poll coalition, everyone is waiting to see who Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala will first invite to form the government.

The residents of state capital Bengaluru say they want stability and progress from the next government. “We need stability more than all this politics,” said Mary S, a teacher. “We need a government that will care about the needs of the people rather than someone sitting in Delhi and just trying to get MLAs when needed.”

At the same time, they are divided about which party is best suited to deliver this. While some are apprehensive at the prospect of a coalition government because they feel such formations are inherently unstable, others said it would be better for Karnataka if the BJP formed the state government as it also ruled at the Centre, and, they reasoned, this would work in favour of the state. Almost everyone was hoping for a quick resolution to the current situation.

Coalitions in Karnataka

Karnataka is no stranger to coalition governments. The 2004 elections threw up a similar result. The BJP had emerged as the single-largest party but the Congress and Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) joined hands. Congress’s Dharam Singh took charge as chief minister, and Siddaramaiah, who was then with the Janata Dal (Secular), became deputy chief minister. The government lasted less than two years. It fell when Deve Gowda’s son, HD Kumaraswamy, withdrew support to the Congress and tied up with the BJP. The new coalition was to work on the understanding that Kumaraswamy and the BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa would be chief ministers for 20 months each. However, Kumaraswamy refused to step down as chief minister after his 20-month stint, and the BJP withdrew support.

Harish C, a business developer who was born and brought up in Bengaluru, remembers this episode, and is consequently wary of coalition governments. “Last time, when the JD(S) and BJP merged, they could not last for more than 20 months,” he said. “This time too, if the Congress and the JD(S) join together it will not last. The BJP should be given the upper hand [in forming the government] because they at least crossed 100 seats.”

Banker Manjit Wadhwa, who has lived in Bengaluru for two years and voted in the May 12 elections, also has a dim view on the long-term prospects of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition. “It may hold together for two or three months but then it will dismantle from within,” he said.

Wadhwa recalled the friction between Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy after the collapse of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in 2004. Siddaramaiah then left Deve Gowda’s party for the Congress. “Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy cannot see eye to eye and the only way for Kumaraswamy to be chief minister is for Siddaramaiah to have no role in the government,” said Wadhwa.

Others have little faith in a stable BJP-led coalition either.

“A coalition government will not work, it will fall,” said Matilda Saldanha. “Even if the BJP, as the single largest party, comes to power, there will be infighting and they will not last last.”

Unsurprisingly, voters are also now expecting parties to play dirty in order to lure MLAs from other parties into their camps.

There is a precedent for this too. In the 2008 Assembly election, the BJP was short of a simple majority by three seats. It then launched Operation Lotus, in which it lured MLAs from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) into its fold by offering them inducements. In 2013, when Yeddyurappa broke away from the BJP briefly and launched his own party called the Karnataka Janata Paksha, he said he regretted Operation Lotus.

Yeddyurappa is now the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate but Bengaluru residents say they are expecting similar horse-trading. “The BJP needs another eight MLAs and they might buy them over,” said Asha Narayanswamy. “They have support from the government at the Centre also.”

Ashok Ponnappa, a planter from Coorg, echoed this view. “The BJP will not keep quiet,” he said. “There will be horse-trading because they will do whatever it takes to get power.”

Who is better for Karnataka?

Some voters felt that the BJP would be better for the state as it also ruled the Centre.

“There is no other power to lead the country besides Modi,” said Mathew, who runs his own business. “With that as the case, it is better to have the same government at the Centre and at the state.”

His friend, Ponnappa, agreed. “For Karnataka, the best scenario would be to have the same government at the Centre and at the state,” he said. “Whatever projects have to be carried out can be done in unison.”

Others felt the BJP would administer the state capital better. A long-time Bengaluru resident, who works in a bank and who did not want to be identified, said: “The BJP by right should form the government because they have worked for it – both Modi and Amit Shah. I don’t want a Congress back because I know what a mess they have in administering the city. Yeddyurappa is a good administrator.”

But Mary S, the teacher, felt that a Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition would be better for Karnataka. “I know the last time they had a coalition they had a chief minister for two years and then it kept changing,” she said. “That should not happen, but I think a coalition of Congress and JD(S) will be better for Karnataka than the BJP.”

Bengaluru resident Noorjahan agreed. “A coalition government [of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular)] is better,” she said. “The BJP wants to change the Constitution and we do not want that. I am not worried about the stability of a coalition government. They have formed governments like this before and will do a better job this time.”

Whichever way the chips fall, everyone is hoping the uncertaintly ends soon.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”


“Like what?”


A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”




“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:


This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.