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Congress Legislature Party Calls Meeting on May 29 to Discuss Coalition Politics in Karnataka

The meeting comes in the backdrop of the rout of the Congress-JD(S) alliance in the Lok Sabha polls and simmering discontent within the party.

PTI

Updated:May 26, 2019, 7:44 PM IST
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Congress Legislature Party Calls Meeting on May 29 to Discuss Coalition Politics in Karnataka
Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy during a press conference after the Cabinet meeting, in Bengaluru, Friday, May 24, 2019. (PTI)
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Bengaluru: Amid coalition worries, the Congress, a partner in the ruling alliance in Karnataka, has convened a meeting of its legislature party on Wednesday to discuss the current political developments in the state.

The meeting comes in the backdrop of the rout of the Congress-JD(S) alliance in the Lok Sabha polls and simmering discontent within the party.

CLP leader Siddaramaiah, in a letter to party legislators, including members of the legislative council, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, said the meeting would be held at a hotel here on May 29 at 6 pm to discuss the current political developments.

"All MLAs should be present at the meeting without fail and give valuable suggestions," it said, adding that Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Pradesh Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao, among others, would be present.

In its worst electoral performance in Karnataka, the Congress won just one out of 21 seats it contested in the Lok Sabha polls, while the JD(S) also won just one out of the seven seats it had fought.

Reflecting the coalition's sorry state, several stalwarts including former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, veteran Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Veerappa Moily and KH Muniyappa among others were defeated.

The alliance's humiliating defeat in the LS polls, which saw BJP winning 25 of the 28 seats, is widely expected to have a bearing on the stability of the Kumaraswamy government.

As voices emerged in the Congress to end the alliance, blaming the JDS partnership for their disastrous performance, Kumaraswamy had offered to resign, following which the cabinet met on Friday and reposed its "faith and confidence" in his leadership, asserting that the coalition would continue.

The CLP meeting also comes in the wake of simmering discontent within the party, with party MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, who has been hobnobbing with the BJP for some time, even threatening to resign along with a few MLAs after the LS polls polls.

Adding to this was senior party legislator Roshan Baig’s outburst against the leadership, holding them responsible for the poor show by the party.

The BJP, on its part, has predicted the collapse of the coalition and an increase in its tally in the assembly after the LS poll results, claiming that 20 odd Congress MLAs are unhappy with the government and may take any decision.

During the CLP, legislators are expected to put forth their opinion on the coalition and the way forward, as the party has decided to go ahead with the alliance, despite rout in the Lok Sabha polls and may even seek changes or reshuffle in the ministry, sources said.

A couple of weeks ago there was a growing clamour in the Congress for Siddaramaiah to become chief minister once again, resulting in a public spat between leaders of alliance partners.

The legislators may also seek proper coordination with the government, and the chief minister's intervention to resolve some of their constituency and governance-related issue on priority, the sources said, adding that they may also ask for a joint legislature meeting of both parties.

The leadership is also expected to explain to MLAs about the need to continue with the coalition and ask them not to make any public statements against the alliance.

There is also the possibility of discussions on some ministers quitting from their posts to make way for others to quell the growing discontent, the sources added.

It also remains to be seen whether the disgruntled MLAs would attend the CLP meeting. If not, it will once again trigger speculation about the numbers game.

The Congress had petitioned the Speaker, seeking action against four rebel MLAs, including Jarkiholi, for not attending the CLP meeting early this year when the state was going through political turmoil amid alleged poaching attempts by the BJP.

One of them, Umesh Jadhav, subsequently quit the Congress and joined BJP and went on to become an MP from Gulbarga, defeating veteran party leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

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