After grand-son Nikhil Kumaraswamy, his grand-father and Chief of the Janata Dal-Secular HD Deve Gowda has given indications that the Congress-JD (S) Government in Karnataka may collapse anytime as it is on the mercy of the Congress. He said on Friday that mid-term polls for the State Assembly are imminent and he is not sure how long the Congress-JDS coalition government would last. Deve Gowda said, “They [Congress] said they will support us for five years, but their behaviour has not been in line with this promise.” On the other hand, Congress’s state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao said that there is no question of mid-term polls as the government is stable despite efforts of BJP. After Congress’s response on the issue, HD Deve Gowda issued a clarification saying that the mid-term polls are not in his hands. He said, “As long as Congress will be strong, we will be strong.”
Dr. BL Shankar, vice president Karnataka Congress told Afternoon Voice, “Later on, HD Deve Gowda made clarification on this issue. His statement was not related to assembly elections. There is a post-poll coalition in Karnataka. Some misunderstanding will continue and differences will surface from time to time. But the Kumaraswamy government will complete its 5-year term.”
It is worth mentioning that lack of trust between coalition-partners the JD (S) and the Congress, hostile statements by leaders both parties against each other, fear of defection and continuous attempt of the BJP to topple the Kumaraswamy government have always posed a threat to the Karnataka government. CM Kumaraswamy assumed office on May 23, 2018, and he is facing threats of instability since then. His one year in office is full of ups and downs. The debacle in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections has increased the threat of instability as the BJP is in full confidence and some leaders of the Congress and JD (S) are openly saying that the alliance in Karnataka is hurting their parties.
Janata Dal-Secular MLA Devananda Chouhan said, “Nothing will happen and the Kumaraswamy government will continue to work for the next four years. From starting there is strife between both coalition partners. Our National President HD Deve Gowda made a statement regarding ongoing tussle with the Congress.”
In spite of all these, Congress and JD-S leaders are making all efforts to save the government, with even plans of cabinet expansion, fearing the BJP might revive efforts to topple it encouraged by the glorious victory in the Lok Sabha polls in which it won 25 of the 28 seats in the state. The coalition partners have won only one seat each. In order to save the state government, two Independent MLAs were recently inducted into the CM HD Kumaraswamy-led cabinet. They believe that it would strengthen the 13-month-old coalition government.
Karnataka BJP spokesperson Dr. Vaman Acharya said, “There is no need of mid-term polls. Our party BJP has won 106 seats in 224 membered Karnataka Assembly. We are lacking 6-7 seats for the majority. If Janata Dal-Secular is unable to run the government in the state, let them resign. In that condition, a group of MLAs of JD(S) will support us and the BJP will form the government. We are not afraid of elections. At present, the atmosphere is in favour of the BJP.”
The Janata Dal-Secular has been opposing the policies of the Congress since its inception and it is the root cause of its existence in Karnataka. The only thing which binds the Congress and the JD(S) is the opposition of the BJP. Both parties were keen to prevent the BJP from coming to power in the state. Therefore, they formed a post-poll coalition to keep the BJP out of power. But there are a lot of many issues on which both parties have different views. In the 2018 Karnataka state elections, the BJP won 104 seats but the party failed to secure a majority of 113 seats in the assembly. The Karnataka Legislative Assembly has a total of 224 seats. The JD(S) with 38 seats and the Congress with 77 seats came together to form the government.
Prior to HD Deve Gowda, his grand-son Nikhil Kumaraswamy had said his party workers to get ready for mid-term elections. A video related to this controversial statement had gone viral recently.
Just after this, the JD (S) swung into damage-control mode. The CM’s office said that Nikhil’s statement was taken out of context. The statement said, “Nikhil Kumaraswamy cheering up party workers have told them that they should always be ready to serve the society. Not only during elections, but they should also always keep the party in a state of activeness so as to win the election whenever it comes.
Meanwhile, HD Deve Gowda said he told Rahul Gandhi, “From day one I am watching, I am hurt very badly. This is the first time I am telling you. You take a decision. Please request all your Karnataka leaders not to speak in public about the government.” Former prime minister’s reaction came in the backdrop of leaders of the state’s ruling Janata Dal-Secular-Congress coalition repeatedly airing their differences publicly following the alliance’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls in the state.
Recently, after meeting Rahul Gandhi Congress leader Siddaramaiah said that the coalition is not working well and the party would have performed better if it had contested the elections alone. Two Congress legislators were spotted at the home of former Karnataka chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader S.M.Krishna, setting off alarm bells for the H.D.Kumaraswamy-led coalition government.
Though the Congress reassured Kumaraswamy of continued support, leaders from both sides had blamed each other of working against the coalition’s interests that cost them dearly in the Lok Sabha polls, leaving the JD(S) and Congress with just one seat each as against two.