New Delhi: Dissenting from the party's stand, Chikkaballapura Congress MLA K Sudhakar on Wednesday questioned why was the issue of EVM manipulation being brought into conversation while talking about the exit poll results.
The legislator's reaction may hint at trouble ahead for the grand old party, which had a hard time keeping its coalition government intact with the JD(D) amid efforts to topple their Karnataka regime allegedly by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
"Personally I am confused why the issue of EVM manipulation is being brought into conversation while talking about the exit poll results. When in fact the exit poll results indicate the feeling of the voter at the conclusion of polling," he tweeted. Sudhakar is expected to address the media in this regard later in the afternoon.
Rubbishing rumours of differences within the allies, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said, "I don't think that the national result will have any impact on the state government. We are in a very different stage politically since we are in a coalition. Congress and JDS high command should instruct their leaders to contain this."
Last week, chief minister and Janata Dal Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy called for a halt to the "contradictory statements" by Congress and JDS leaders, citing possible danger to the formation of a new coalition government at the Centre minus the BJP.
"We are on the verge of formation of a new government at the Centre. At this juncture, where all efforts are being made to form a non-BJP government at the Centre, the contradictory statements by leaders of coalition partners Congress and JDS may mar such efforts," Kumaraswamy tweeted.
Later, Congress also supported HDK's statement with state unit chief Dinesh Gundu Rao tweeting in Kannada: "I appeal to the leaders of both the parties to refrain from making any controversial remarks or commenting in the public or to the media against each other."
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also expressed concerned over the charges and counter-charges between leaders of both the allies. Gandhi told the party's state unit leaders in New Delhi that they should work with the JDS in the spirit of coalition dharma and prevent any threat to the year-old coalition government in the southern state.
Besides Rao, the party's legislature leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Congress state unit in-charge KC Venugopal met Gandhi to ensure there won't be any adverse impact on the coalition government after the parliamentary poll results on May 23.
Simmering differences between the allies surfaced when two Congress ministers and 10 Congress legislators claimed Siddaramaiah was their leader and wanted him to become the Chief Minister again in place of Kumaraswamy.
Blaming Siddaramaiah from failing to rein in his loyalists who did not accept Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister, Vishwanath had said the top executive post was not vacant and that the Congress had lost the Assembly election under Siddaramaiah's leadership.
This was not the first time that the strains in the state government have been visible. Since July 2018 — mere months after the Assembly elections — the residents of Karnataka saw Kumaraswamy break down at an event organised to felicitate him. "The chief minister's post is not a bed of roses, it's a bed of thorns," he had said, explaining his difficulty in running the government with the Congress as his coalition partner.
Later, the allies and the BJP were seen accusing each other of poaching MLAs from their rival camps and both sides denying the allegations. The BJP had even sent over 100 of its MLAs to a resort in Haryana's Gurugram to avoid any attempts of switching sides. However, keeping aside the differences, Congress and JDS decided to stick to each other to stop BJP from making inroads into the southern region during Lok Sabha polls.
In a pre-poll arrangement, the allies fielded joint candidates in all the 28 seats, with the Congress in 21 and the JDS in seven seats across the state for the elections that were held in two phases on April 18 and April 23.