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Kumaraswamy Knows Power of Tears and He's Using it as Political Armour Against Congress and BJP

The Karnataka CM cried in public claiming that he has swallowed the “poison”of being in a coalition government like “Vishankantha”, one of the incarnations of Lord Shiva.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:July 16, 2018, 6:45 PM IST
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Kumaraswamy Knows Power of Tears and He's Using it as Political Armour Against Congress and BJP
Addressing an event in Bengaluru on Saturday, the Chief Minister broke down and talked of the “pain of a coalition government”. (Image: PTI)

Bengaluru: Politicians know the power of tears. Some have made careers out of it. Shedding tears in public may not be manly for the commoners, but for netas, it is the best insurance against many things.

Karnataka chief minister and seasoned politician HD Kumaraswamy knows that well. He cried in public on Saturday claiming that he has swallowed the “poison” of being in a coalition government like “Vishankantha”, one of the incarnations of Lord Shiva who drank poison after the churning of sea (Samudra Manthan) in Indian mythology.

His tears made it to national headlines and the major partner in the coalition, Congress, is both embarrassed and worried. The opposition BJP has termed it as a “drama” that should get an award for the best acting. Union minister Arun Jaitley described it as a prelude to imminent collapse of the “grand alliance”.

Some political analysts are interpreting it as a sign of weakness and predict it could eventually bring the government down. But some argue that it was a calculated move and his tears have served their purpose.

By shedding tears in front of the JDS workers and refusing to accept the public felicitation, Kumaraswamy has done a clever thing.

By playing the sentimental card, he has also sent a strong warning to Congress that if they pull the plug, he will play victim.

And he has also sent a warning to the BJP that he can play the same “betrayal” card like his one-time partner BS Yeddyurappa, who rode to power alleging “betrayal” by Kumaraswamy 11 years ago.

His father and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda also defended his son’s actions in north Karnataka town of Hubli, making an indirect attack on both the Congress and the BJP. Addressing media, he said that Kumaraswamy was under immense pressure to deliver without a “free hand” and no majority of his own.

Ever since the JDS – Congress coalition came to power almost two months ago, the Gowdas have been hoping to generate some sympathy. Kumaraswamy often claims that he is helpless because he is at the mercy of the Congress and the opposition BJP with 104 MLAs is threatening to dislodge his government.

The former chief minister and coalition coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah who is reportedly upset over playing the second fiddle to his old rivals, the Gowdas, has also been making his displeasure public by making controversial statements about the longevity of the government.

The BJP has been trying to portray the government as an anti-north Karnataka government, which is interested only in the development of JDS stronghold of old Mysore region at the expense of BJP strongholds like north Karnataka, costal and Malnad regions.

A senior JDS leader who is not on good terms with the first family of the party said that he was not amused by Kumaraswamy’s tears.

Speaking to News18 on condition of anonymity, he said, “Both the father and son are clever people. For me it looks like clever ploy to ensure safety of the government. If the Congress troubles him, his tears will generate sympathy for the JDS and may turn the people against the Congress. If the BJP goes after him, he can play victim card by portraying the saffron party as an anti-Old Mysore and anti-Vokkaliga party”.

The recent farm loan waiver has forced the Congress and BJP to go slow on the JDS. The partner Congress was not keen on loan waiver fearing that the entire credit would go to the JDS. They agreed only after party president Rahul Gandhi convinced them not to make it an issue. The BJP fears that the loan waiver may work against them in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

A senior BJP leader close to Yeddyurappa said that they are worried about Kumaraswamy’s pro-public image and his actions may get more public support in coming days.

According to a Siddaramaiah confidante, the former chief minister had described the tear politics as a pressure tactic and they need to be careful in future. Kumaraswamy has defended the tears as an emotional response to some recent developments and rubbished the “clever political move” theories.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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