The BJP has decided on its third Chief Minister for the state of Karnataka, Mr. Shettar, who will be sworn in within a few days.
Normally, this wouldn’t be anything worth mentioning; politicians come and go from seats of power and we seem to have reconciled to the recurring event. But what makes this stand apart is the reason why the present incumbent Mr. Gowda has been asked to resign and Mr. Shettar instated in his place. The reason for the ouster of the present CM isn’t mis-governance, it isn’t poor performance, it isn’t corruption or anything in that vein either, it’s simply that one community of voters in Karnataka wanted a CM from their own caste.
The BJP apparently decided that with elections near enough, it made sense to pander to this dominant caste and caved in to their demand for a CM from among their ranks. It feared losing the community’s votes if it didn’t. After all, as one BJP spokesman said on TV in an unconnected discussion, “Democracy is a game of numbers.”
I can’t help but look at this and shudder in revulsion. If the leader of a state is decided not on the basis of his/her qualities and talents but on the basis of which community he/she belongs to, are we truly a progressive democracy? Now I’m not defending Mr. Gowda either, for all I know he wasn’t a fit CM, but that is not the reason for his removal. In fact if he was unfit, then it’s even more shameful that he was removed because he did not belong to the “right” community. Of course as salve to the wounds of his not-so-influential community, the outgoing CM will get to appoint the deputy CM.
Doesn’t anyone see it as a callous approach to the idea of democracy and to governance? No matter how you look at it, the action does no one proud. In one way, it’s your caste/community etc that decides how far you get on the ladder of power, and in the other way, it really doesn’t matter who takes the highest post in a state; since they’re all so interchangeable, it seems like they’re all equally irrelevant and that the state machinery will plod on in whatever direction it is moving regardless.
I can only look at these events as a poor advertisement for the idea of Democracy as the best system of governance man has come up with. A pity that it isn’t an isolated event either!