It’s been a politically-charged year in Karnataka’s politics, and we have witnessed several action-packed turns. From BS Yediyurappa setting a record for the shortest stint as a Chief Minister to storming back to power with a vengeance; from DK Shivakumar’s rise as a strong face in the Congress to his fall after the Enforcement Directorate arrested him, this year has seen several dramatic events transpire.
As the year comes to an end, TNM brings you a list of the major political events of 2019 that will go down in Karnataka’s history.
When Yediyurappa toppled the Congress-JD(S) coalition
After Yediyurappa’s resignation in 2018, the Congress and JD(S) – two strange bedfellows – formed an alliance and came to power. Since day one, efforts were on to poach the coalition’s legislators and finally, in July 2019, the BJP succeeded.
Yediyurappa had suffered for a year after being labeled the two-day-Chief Minister. Yediyurappa, who had to resign in May 2018 two days after he took oath, swore to come back to power. A year of coaxing and wooing the Congress and JD(S) MLAs paid off and finally in July, 17 Congress and JD(S) leaders resigned as MLAs and flew to a luxury hotel in Mumbai. They were cooped up here until the motion of confidence brought down the Congress-JD(S) coalition.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was forced to resign from his post when the coalition failed to prove majority in the Assembly.
BJP’s victory in Lok Sabha elections
By January 2019, the Congress and JD(S) coalition partners were indulging in massive infighting. Their decision to go to polls as an alliance too backfired. Traditionally considered rivals in the region, their respective cadre were unwilling to help each other to win the polls.
The BJP procured a massive victory by winning 25 out of the 28 parliamentary seats from Karnataka. The Congress won two seats and the JD(S) won none. This victory was also crucial as the party broke into fortresses of the Congress and JD(S) in the Old Mysuru region. Veterans were defeated and the BJP’s victory proved that the traditional caste-based calculations did not work in the state anymore as it had managed to break into crucial votebanks of the Congress and JD(S).
HD Deve Gowda’s defeat
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda suffered a massive defeat in the Tumkur Lok Sabha segment. After winning as an MLA six times and as an MP six times, 87-year-old HD Deve Gowda defeat was seen as a big loss of face. And what is most ironic is that Deve Gowda had vacated his safe seat for his grandson, to further the dynasty in the state.
Deve Gowda had to give up his home constituency -- Hassan to his grandson Prajwal Revanna. The veteran politician was mulling over contesting from Mandya. However, his other grandson Nikhil was fielded from the segment as it is a stronghold of the JD(S). While Prajwal won from his seat, Nikhil lost.
The victory in the bye-elections
The bye-elections held on December 5, was a litmus test for the BJP in Karnataka. A defeat would mean that Yediyurappa’s efforts in poaching and toppling the coalition government was all for naught. The BJP won 12 out of the 15 segments that went to polls. These were necessitated as 17 coalition rebels had resigned.
While turncoats in Haryana and Maharashtra had suffered a massive defeat, the Congress in Karnataka expected to win at least seven seats, but suffered a massive defeat. Yediyurappa secured a simple majority in the assembly. Ahead of the polls, several leaders in the BJP wanted Yediyurappa out, stating that was getting too old. The successive victories in Lok Sabha and the bye-polls ensured his position within the party as the decision-maker.
DK Shivakumar’s arrest in the money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate arrested former Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar in connection with the Rs 8.83 crore money laundering case on September 3.
The Enforcement Directorate’s probe began after the Income Tax Department filed a chargesheet alleging money laundering. The I-T case was registered after sleuths found Rs 8.83 crore cash during search and seizure operations in August 2017 at various of his properties in New Delhi, including his residence in Safdarjung Enclave.
This was a massive setback for the Congress as Shivakumar, known to be a troubleshooter, was in trouble himself. Whilst the party cried vendetta by the BJP, protests by Congress erupted across the state against his arrest. Shivakumar was denied bail and was in Delhi’s Tihar jail for almost two months. He was granted bail by the Delhi high Court on October 23. He received a grand welcome in Bengaluru up on his return on October 26.