Celebration time for Krishna, Congress

BANGALORE OCT. 10. It is celebration time in Government circles and also in the Congress as the S.M. Krishna regime is completing four years in office on Saturday. Though the Government is a single party one unlike the multi-party NDA Government at the Centre, the reason for the jubilation is not far to seek.

Though Karnataka is one of the few States in the country never to have a coalition government, very few have completed four years in office not to speak of seeing through the full term of five years sanctioned by the Constitution. The only Government which was a coalition of sorts was the first Ramakrishna Hegde Government (1983-85) which was also called the Janata Ranga Government. However, the Karnataka Kranti Ranga merged with the Janata Party shortly after the elections. The Government had been supported from outside by the BJP.

Since Independence, the only Chief Minister to complete the full term of five years was Devaraj Urs who held office from 1972 to 1978. Thanks to a Constitution amendment pushed through in the days of the Emergency, the term of the Assembly had been extended to six years then. Even the first Nijalingappa Government (1962-67) was not in office for the full term as the then Chief Minister was defeated in the general election and was returned to the Assembly in a byelection. Mr. Krishna is fortunate not to face problems not to speak of challenges from the Opposition parties. The recognised Opposition in both Houses of the Legislature, the BJP, had been embroiled in indiscipline and dissent within the legislature party. The Janata Dal groups continue to be in turmoil especially the AIPJD. Though the Janata Dal (Secular) is attracting legislators and workers from the AIPJD, the fact should not be missed that it is a weak force in the Legislative Assembly. Six out of the 10 MLAs elected on its ticket joined the Congress.

The Janaspandana Yatra is in a way a celebration of completion of four years in office, though it has been advertised as a tour to elicit the people's reaction to the development programmes of the Government. The Panchajanya Yatra taken out by Mr. Krishna as State Congress President which was to some extent responsible for bringing the party to power in 1999. It is no wonder the principal Opposition, the BJP, which has shown a revival in the last three months under the presidentship of H.N. Ananth Kumar, is answering the Congress with its own version of yatra, Janasangarsha, to be flagged off on Saturday.