15 June, 2021

Fission Frisson

Anti-BJP coalitions, dealt a stunning blow, hope for a revival after introspection

Fission Frisson

Summer 2018. The swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumara­swamy witnessed some unusual mom­ents in political history—the Vidhana Soudha dais turned into a theatre of visual memory. Arch-­rivals shook hands. Improbable threa­tened to become probable. If it reca­lled the heady Janata years, there was a twist. The common enemy was not the Congress, but the BJP. The Congress was on this side. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi shared space with not just Chandrababu Naidu, champion of ‘fed­­­eral’ politics, or Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD, a perennially friendly party, but also more (mutually) iffy fellow travellers such as the CPI(M), represented by the amiable Sitaram Yech­ury, the Trinamool sup­remo Mamata Banerjee and AAP’s Arvind Kejri­wal. That tentat­ive ente­nte didn’t travel far—their ess­­­­­­en­­­­tial incompatibility became the story of 2019.

At that time, this was seen as a...

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