Shortly after the HD Kumaraswamy government lost the trust vote in the Karnataka assembly, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor compared the developments that led to the ruling coalition's downfall to a past decision by the Narendra Modi government to curb the sale of cattle.
"So the party that banned cattle auctions has successfully conducted one in Karnataka! My admiration for the courage & principle shown by D.K.Shivakumar & those @INCIndia MLAs who were neither cajoled nor cudgelled into changing their allegiance. We shall overcome one day," he tweeted, even as television channels flashed news of the Karnataka government's downfall.
The Congress-Janata Dal Secular (JDS) coalition managed to cobble up a mere 99 votes in comparison to the BJP's 105. The triumphant opposition party later dubbed it as a "Game of Karma".
As many as 16 legislators from the ruling coalition quit their parties en masse earlier this month, while Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was away in the United States on vacation. Two independents also shifted allegiance from the coalition to the BJP, further eating away at its fast-crumbling support base. The Congress and the Janata Dal Secular alliance have accused the BS Yeddyurappa-led Karnataka BJP of "buying off" rival legislators with promises of cash and political positions.
Hence the reference to cattle auctions in Shashi Tharoor's tweet.
So the party that banned cattle auctions has successfully conducted one in Karnataka! My admiration for the courage & principle shown by D.K.Shivakumar & those @INCIndia MLAs who were neither cajoled nor cudgelled into changing their allegiance. We shall overcome one day. https://t.co/L5bp0kAEPt— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 23, 2019
The praise for Congress troubleshooter DK Shivakumar was only natural, given how he had almost single-handedly led the ruling coalition's efforts to prevent a collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy government. Even at a time when rebel legislators had closeted themselves in Mumbai's Renaissance Hotel earlier this month, Mr Shivakumar camped outside its gates in the pouring rain until he was picked up by the Mumbai police and sent back to Bengaluru.
The Congress leader kept the faith until the very last moments of the political tussle, despite not being able to reach out to the dissidents. "There is time. We are confident that good sense will prevail on my friends. They are valuable. They have been lawmakers five-six times," he said last week.
It was only today that Mr Shivakumar's frustration finally began to show, and he laid down his arms with an ominous prediction. "My friends who backstabbed me will backstab the BJP too. What's the point of all this? We are all going to die anyway. The maximum one can do is drink two extra large pegs at night," he said, cynicism writ large on his face.
The BJP, however, held a more positive outlook in the wake of the state government's collapse on the assembly floor. "It is a victory of democracy. People were fed up with the HD Kumaraswamy government. I want to assure the people of Karnataka that a new era of development will start now," said BS Yeddyurappa, who is set to become the Chief Minister for the fourth time.