India’s southern state of Karnataka is going through the process of elections for its 224-seat State Assembly. Two phases of the election are over - one on 10th May and the other on the 16th. The third and final phase will be on the 22nd May and the results are to be out on 25th of May.
This election for Karnataka state is crucial on several counts. One is that, after a period of unstable coalition governments, of Congress plus Janata Dal (Secular) and later Bharatiya Janata Party plus Janata Dal (Secular), and even more bureaucratic ‘Governor’s rule’ in the last six months, a popularly elected government is being awaited by the ordinary people of the state. But will they get it? That is the million rupee question.
Secondly, as the general election for the Indian parliament are due in the second quarter of 2009, the ruling coalition of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) - led by Congress and opportunistically supported and propped up by the ‘Communists’ in the name of secularism - is awaiting the results of this particular election with bated breath.
The Indian political situation is once again ripening towards a period of extreme instability as the much hyped growth of over 9% has increased the gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ to unseen proportions. This country of a billion plus people, and ‘home’ to more than half of the world’s absolutely poor, is in the high inflation zone of nearly 8%. This is expected to go beyond two digits by the government’s own admission.
While the obscene luxurious living of the rich 3% is all too glaring, 836 million people are ‘living’ with an income of 20 rupees (less than 25 pence) a day. Congress which has survived most of the recently held state elections across the country is expecting a return to power. But in all likelihood it would be a hung Assembly or the same old crisis-ridden coalition rule.
The New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) has intervened in this important election in Karnataka, campaigning for a new mass workers’ party based on the ideas of genuine socialism (pre-election campaign literature posted on www.socialism.in). We will be posting an election analysis when the results have come in.