The only thing the Karnataka voter has ensured is that a new government will be installed in Vidhana Soudha. When that will happen is difficult to say: it could be before this edition is printed, within a few days, or even longer should an unlikely spell of President’s Rule become necessary to try a plaster-cast to shore up the fractured verdict.

What is apparent is that no matter which group gets the nod from Governor Vajubhai R Vala, the incoming government will be draped in a mantle of manipulative shame ~ the voters did not “authorise” it.

The Congress (Siddaramiah and Rahul Gandhi) was demonstrably rejected, for all the bombast about the Modi-Shah combine breaching the southern firewall, the BJP will have to deploy its Dirty Tricks Department to make up for its shortfall in seats.

And while the patchwork Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress combine does appear to have the numbers, the post-poll live-in arrangement lacks political legitimacy since Rahul Gandhi had only recently deprecated the JD(S), from whom his Congress is now begging for succour.

Perhaps what the pollsters got right was that the Deve Gowda clan would become kingmakers ~ now it aspires to the crown. The voter cannot be blamed for the mess: the divisive, manipulative, unprincipled politics of the day has “spoken”. Even louder than the Lingayat card that the outgoing chief minister tried to play.

What the voter did not determine has become the task of the Governor. Not only are conflicting legal opinions and precedents being cited, what is also surfacing is the latent suspicion that Raj Bhawans have been so emasculated over the years that they have surrendered their independence and follow Raisina Hill’s diktat ~ no need to cite specific cases of such infamy.

The “linkages” of the present occupant of Bengaluru’s Raj Bhawan are well known ~ but the former finance minister of Gujarat has the opportunity to restore a little currency to his elevated office. At the time of writing this commentary, it was a case of “wait and watch”.

All sides have resorted to drum-beating, victory speeches etc ~ but the mood-swings in party offices, deferred/cancelled press conferences underscore another reality, which is that the voter cannot be taken for granted.

The clout of the Modi-Shah combine does remain intact, at least partially so.Yet another rout for Rahul would point to the Congress needing a new leader in 2019, but for any party senior to suggest that would be as sacrilegious as quoting Vajpayee to Modi.

Will the mother-son duo finally realise that a new front, probably not headed by the Congress, is the only way to possibly apply the brakes to the BJP road-roller? As Mamata, Mayawati, Chandra Babu Naidu and others are advocating.

Meanwhile, the convoluted political course in Karnataka could have a few more twists and turns, providing the script for a political thriller ~ if slime can indeed thrill.