The results of elections to the 25 constituencies of the local bodies to the Legislative Council of Karnataka on 14 December have exposed tall claims of all parties in support of democracy. At the same time, they have become an eye-opener on the sorry state of affairs prevailing in the state. Nepotism, with loads of money bags and muscle power, has not just bulldozed the significance of the largest democracy that is India but literally buried it.
11 each to BJP, INC and Two to JD-S: For the sake of records, both ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) won 11 seats each while the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) had to remain content with a couple of them.
Independent trounces official BJP candidate: However, as expected and feared in some quarters of the ruling BJP, Lakhan Jarkiholi, the younger brother of Ramesh Jarkiholi, Satish Jarkiholi and Balachandra Jarkiholi, all MLAs’ contested as independents and emerged victorious, defeating Mahantesh Kavatagimath. The latter was also the chief whip of the ruling BJP in the upper house.
KS Eshwarappa demands scrapping of LC: Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa expressed his dismay over the recent developments during the conduct of the legislative council election. He wondered whether the Election Commission was alive or dead. He went to the extent of demanding scrapping the council, saying never in his lifetime did he see money flow like water as he did this time.
Buying power decides winning chances: The elected members of local bodies or grassroots-level civic bodies are the vote-bank. As it is only the currency that matters in banking, are cash and costly gifts deciding the fate of contestants? More the money power, more is the chance of sweeping the polls.
A dozen family members: Family politics, rather than party politics or power politics, has played a pivotal role in the council elections. About 12 members belonging to political families, who have representation either in the state assembly, council or the parliament, have been elected to the council also known as the house of the elders. The unique characteristic is not restricted to a given political party and all of them are equal partners in family progress.
BJP brothers, kith and kin: Suja Kushalappa, a brother of Appachu Ranjan and five-time Madikeri MLA, has won from the Kodagu district constituency. DS Arun, the son of DH Shankaramurthy, who is the former chairman of the council, has won from Shivamogga district. KS Naveen, a relative of BS Yediyurappa, the former chief minister has won from the Chitradurga district. Pradeep Shettar, a brother of Jagadish Shettar, the former chief minister, won from the Dharwad district.
INC brothers Bheemarao Patil, a brother of Rajasekhar Patil and MLA, won from the Bidar district. In the Raichuru district, Sharanagowda Bayyapur, a nephew of MLA Amaregowda Bayyapur, has won. Sunilgouda Patil, a brother of MB Patil, a former minister and legislator, has won from Vijayapura. S Ravi, a relative of DK Shivakumar, KPCC president, has snatched the Bengaluru Rural district constituency. Channaraj Hattiholi, a brother of Lakshmi Hebbalkar, Belagavi Rural MLA, has won from Belagavi. R Rajendra, son of KN Rajanna, former MLA has won from Tumakuru. Dr Suraj Revanna, a son of HD Revanna and former minister and MLA and grandson of HD Deve Gowda, the former prime minister, has won from Hassan (Karnataka).
Three brothers to Vidhana Soudha: Three brothers from the same family from the Bidar district have made it to the Vidhana Soudha, creating a record of sorts. Rajasekhar Patil, the elder brother, has won from the Humnabad constituency for the fourth consecutive time. Another brother Dr Chandrasekhar Patil is already an MLC, who won from the Graduates constituency. Now Bheemarao Patil has been elected to the council.
Four brothers to Vidhana Soudha: With the victory of Lakhan Jarkiholi, four brothers have made it to the Vidhana Soudha. Ramesh Jarkiholi represents the Gokak constituency, Satish Jharkiholi is elected from Yamakanamaradi while Balachandra Jarkiholi is the sitting MLA of the Arabhavi constituency in District Belagavi.
Family members in both legislative houses and Sansad: Perhaps the “son of a poor, humble family” HD Deve Gowda, as he proudly keeps proclaiming, surpasses all these numbers. He is an MP of the Rajya Sabha while grandson Prajwal Revanna is the Hassan Lok Sabha MP. Now his brother Dr Suraj Revanna has been elected to the legislative council. HD Deve Gowda’s other sons; HD Kumaraswamy and HD Revanna are MLAs. Anitha Kumaraswamy, the wife of HD Kumaraswamy, is an MLA too.
Different parties, identical priorities: All these developments have been taking place in the name of strengthening the democratic system at the grassroots. But in reality, what is happening is strengthening family representation in legislative bodies. The political parties in the fray in Karnataka may differ in strategy, manifesto and declared policies for the sake of public consumption; the leaders are not ashamed of pushing the family agenda when it comes to enjoying power.
And the pathetic plight of democracy is seen in the fact that no party has a clear policy in the matter. All claim the workers as the backbone of their parties but where do all these real party workers vanish when it comes to sharing power?