2018, a mixed bag of political highs and lows

The year 2018 was a mixed bag as far as politics was concerned. While the overconfident BJP fell short of numbers to form its government,  the Congress bit the dust and the Janata Dal  (Secular) was lucky to get the chief minister's post despite not winning its 2013 rally of 40 seats.  

Karnataka witnessed a coalition government again after a gap of 14 years as the electorate did not give a clear majority to any one party. The 'sardar' of 'bhagyas' Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who contested from two Assembly constituencies- Chamundeshwari in Mysuru and Badami in North Karnataka,  lost by a big margin in his home district but scraped through in Badami. A number of Congress ministers lost in the assembly polls. 

State BJP President B S Yeddyurappa faced embarrassment when he staked claim to form the government with 104 MLAs in his kitty, thinking of doing the Operation Lotus to poach the MLAs of other parties. He remained the CM for three days and resigned after his party failed to attract any legislator. Ultimately, Mr H D Kumaraswamy became the CM with the support of the Congress party. Dr G Parameshwar also cherished his dream of becoming deputy chief minister which did not happen during the previous government as the then CM Siddaramaiah did not want an alternative power centre. The first cabinet expansion created problems for the Congress with more number of aspirants for small number of minister posts. Mr D K Shivakumar, a second in command in state Congress unit, faced an IT raid on his house/s, business premises just a day after he hosted the Congress legislators from Gujarat who feared poaching by the BJP.  This became a political tool for the Congress to allege witch hunting and misuse of central independent agencies by the lotus party. 

  The Congress saw a rebellion by Belagavi brothers- Ramesh Jarkiholi and Satish Jarkiholi over the election to local PLD bank polls for which Belagavi rural MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar wanted her nominee to become its president. The issue went to the extent of calling off the coalition government but was prevented thanks to timely intervention of Mr Siddaramaiah. 

  The second cabinet expansion created problems for the Congress with a number of veteran legislators upping the ante against the high command. The dropped minister - Mr Ramesh Jarkiholi once again posed a big threat to the government with the help of disgruntled Congress MLAs. The snatching away home portfolio from deputy chief minister Dr G Parameshwar has not gone well among the SC voters who felt betrayed by Mr Siddaramaiah. Bickering in Congress is visible and its not known when this volcano will erupt.  

The loan waiver scheme announced by the JDS within 24 hours after coming to power,  had become a big problem for the cm to mobilise resources with no support from the union government. This has put the Kumaraswamy government in quandary on how to meet up this promise made to farmers in the wake of the coming LS polls. The attitude of the Congress party has changed after its victory in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh and bagging the Ballari Lok Sabha seat in bypolls. This was being felt by the JD(S) leaders themselves. 

Demise of leaders  The year also witnessed the demise of a number of politicians. Union minister H N Ananthkumar,  former Minister and noted Kannada film actor M H Ambarish,  farmers leader K S Puttanaiah,  former MLAs M P Ravindra and Mr Rudresh Gowda passed away leaving a void in state politics. 

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