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Siddaramaiah's Family Euro Trip Adds to Instability Talk as Kumaraswamy Nears Day 100 in Office

Political pundits are analysing the recent developments as a setback for the coalition government and the “marriage” of JD(S) and Congress may even end in abrupt “divorce” if the elders in both parties don’t intervene immediately

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:August 27, 2018, 3:11 PM IST
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Siddaramaiah's Family Euro Trip Adds to Instability Talk as Kumaraswamy Nears Day 100 in Office
Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah (left) and chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.
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Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is completing 100 days in office in the next four days. But there is no enthusiasm among the party cadre and the celebration is expected to be muted across the state.

The reason is the lack of coordination, and mutual distrust between the coalition partners JD(S) and Congress. Neither JD(S) nor Congress is sure of a smooth running of the government after it completes 100 days.

Former chief minister and coalition coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah himself is sending contradictory signals, adding to the current chaos. He expressed the desire to become chief minister once again on Friday.

Alarmed by his statement, Kumaraswamy went public, claiming that certain leaders are trying to topple his government and they won’t succeed. He did not name the “conspirators” though.

Political pundits are analysing the recent developments as a setback for the coalition government and the “marriage” of JD(S) and Congress may even end in abrupt “divorce” if the elders in both parties don’t intervene immediately.

According to JD(S) sources, Kumaraswamy is still being wooed by the BJP leadership and he is not averse to the idea of aligning with them if the Congress pulls the plug. But he does not want to end the present arrangement with them based on mere speculation.

Even though majority Congress leaders in the state want the government to stay at least till the Lok Sabha elections next year, Siddaramaiah is not increasingly comfortable dining with his enemies, the Gowdas.

“He is driven by vengeance. His hatred for the Gowdas has blinded him. We really don’t know what he is going to do next,” said a Kumaraswamy loyalist.

Siddaramaiah’s Europe tour with his entire family beginning September 1 has also led to lot of speculation. Some argue that he is setting the stage for the ouster of Kumaraswamy government during his absence. “His loyalists may defect to the BJP during his Europe tour. He can wash his hands off it claiming that he was away and the local leaders bungled,” said a JD(S) MLA.

But Siddaramaiah loyalists rubbish these theories as farfetched. They claim that even though he is not happy with the Gowda family running the state, he will not do anything that allows the BJP to come power in Karnataka again.

“Siddaramaiah is loyal to Rahul Gandhi. He admits that Rahul Gandhi made him the chief minister in 2013 and he does not want to betray him. He will not topple the government,” a Congress MLC said.

Commenting on Siddaramaiah’s desire to become the chief minister once again, the MLC said, “He is talking about the scenario post next Assembly elections, not now. Even if the Congress and JD(S) fight together, there is no rule that we have to give the Chief Minister’s post to the JD(S). He is also trying to boost the morale of Congress workers who are not happy with the alliance with JD(S). The media is unnecessarily speculating and confusing people.”

Speaking to News18, JD(S) state president and MLA H Vishwanath said there was no question of changing the chief minister and Kumaraswamy will complete the full five years. “Yeddyurappa wants to be the BJP chief minister. Why would we go with them?” he asked.

According to some sources, Leader of Opposition Yeddyurappa is getting restless and desperate for power, knowing fully well that it is his last chance. He is trying to topple the government using the rift between the Gowdas and Siddaramaiah, sources said. However, party high command is not keen on toppling the government till Lok Sabha elections and has reportedly advised Yeddyurappa to lay low till then.

But some other political leaders argue that the BJP national leadership wants to break the ‘grand alliance’ of opposition parties, who sported their bonhomie at Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony, ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

According to them, if the coalition government collapses before parliamentary elections because of Siddaramaiah, it will serve two purposes for the BJP — the party will not be accused of toppling the government and it will have a moral victory over the ‘grand alliance’, which may also collapse after this.

Speaking to News18, Yeddyurappa dismissed these reports. He said that the entire state unit was focusing on the Lok Sabha elections and they had no interest in troubling the government. “The government will collapse on its own. We don’t need to do anything. Why should we get into this?” he asked.

As many as 105 urban local bodies are going to vote this Friday and results would be out on next Monday. Keeping local factors in mind, the Congress and the JD(S) are fighting separately. If they manage to win at least 50% of seats together, the alliance will get a boost. If they fail to do so, an emboldened and reenergised BJP may come out with a new plan to end the rule of JD(S) and Congress in Karnataka.

A long-time observer of Karnataka politics quipped, “The Congress is injured. Siddaramaiah is their runner. He is reluctantly running. He himself may get out or get Kumaraswamy out.”
| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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