Ahead of national elections, India's authoritarian ruling party loses a key regional battle

India's national elections are only a year away, and things aren't looking good for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an authoritarian war criminal who has a mutual love affair with US President Donald Trump.

The BJP has announced that it cannot form the government of the southern state of Karnataka, because it could not convince the other parties to enter into coalition with it. The BJP won the largest number of seats in the Karnataka election, but without a majority, it has to find coalition partners in order to form the government.

It's being characterised as the breaking of the "Modi wave" of support that the BJP enjoyed in the honeymoon period after Modi's election, a honeymoon that has been decidedly over for some time now (Modi presided over one of the largest strikes in human history in 2016 — the kind of thing that presages a turning tide in public opinion).

Modi is a Trump-style media manipulator, a serial liar and authoritarian who exploits sectarian differences and Islamophobia to consolidate power; he is backed by a troll army who never fail to show up in the comments for posts like this and on Twitter following any negative sentiment. For an example of their standard line of critic-bollocking, check out the comments below in an hour or two.

In earlier elections held in the states of Goa, Meghalaya and Manipur, the BJP managed to form governments with the help of friendly governors despite not having enough votes. In these states, the BJP quickly forged post-poll alliances to trump Congress, which had the largest numbers. The Constitution provides decision-making powers to state governors, which led to BJP forming governments with as few as two seats. Clearly, the Congress had learned its lesson and was quick to form an alliance in Karnataka, offering to back the JD(S) leader, HD Kumaraswamy as chief minister.

As the BJP quit, a relieved Congress and JD(S) declared victory. "Now and in the future, we will all be together," Congress leader DK Shivakumar — who played a key role in ensuring the outcome — told the media as he left the state assembly. "This is a win for the Constitution and Rule of Law," announced Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.

A combative Congress President Rahul Gandhi went on the offensive as soon as Yeddyurappa resigned. He mocked the BJP legislators by pointing out that they did not even wait for the national anthem to be played as per custom, before walking out of the state assembly. "It shows they can disrespect any institution if in power. Both BJP and RSS have disrespected institutions," he said.

Huge setback for Modi as BJP fails floor test in Karnataka [Vishakha Saxena and Saikat Datta/Asia Times]

(via Naked Capitalism)