The Big Story: Alliance tango

Over the last ten days, Karnataka has seen two chief ministers. But with the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress alliance set to face a confidence vote in the Assembly on Friday, the political turmoil is beginning to settle down.

Neither party is expecting any surprises in the trust vote, given that the numbers are comfortably on their side. But it is the post-trust vote phase that could be a tightrope walk for the two parties, who were bitter enemies during the election campaign but buried their differences after the results came in to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party away from power.

The fact that this is an uneasy alliance is already visible in the statements being made on both sides. After taking oath as deputy chief minister on Wednesday, Congress leader G Parameshwara caused a flutter when he said that the tenure of the chief minister has not been discussed yet. When the alliance was put together, the assumption was that the Congress support to JD (S) was unconditional. But the fact that questions are now being raised on whether the parties should share the chief minister’s post over the next five years has the potential to derail the government.

Not only will such posturing lead to tension in the alliance, but it will also affect governance. With the Congress being the senior partner in the government and having kept to itself 20 of the 34 ministries, the party has the responsibility to ensure that it does not create multiple centres of power and undermine the office of the chief minister. The Congress should also realise that this alliance has the potential to turn things its way in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and could build the foundation for a larger understanding between Opposition parties across the country. This was evident when HD Kumaraswamy took oath as chief minister on Wednesday, when a galaxy of Opposition leaders attended the event.

The new government has its task cut out for it. The Congress needs to set right the perception that its government has, over the last five years, ignored concerns of Bengaluru residents. With Karnataka heavily dependent on the south-west monsoon, agriculture also hangs in the balance. The sector needs innovative policies beyond farm loan waivers to put farming back on track. Over and above this, the government has the task of countering communal polarisation in coastal Karnataka, which the BJP has swept in the Assembly elections.


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  2.   India must be careful in picking best practices from elsewhere when it drafts its data protection law, writes Apar Gupta in The Hindu. 
  3. US President Donald Trump now needs to corral his renegade advisers and resist the name-calling to get diplomacy back on track, argues this editorial in the New York Times. 


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Two days after police kill 13 anti-Sterlite protestors in Thoothukudi, sorrow and anger fill the air, reports Vinita Govindarajan.

“Jhansi’s relatives did not know that she had died until 7 pm that day. The police were unable to identify the person they had shot, said her relatives. “It was only when the nurse of the government hospital handed over her jewellery that we found out that our sister was dead,” the relatives said. They had gone to the local police station and then to the hospital looking for Jhansi as she had not returned home till sunset. “What did she even do to be shot?” they asked.”