Bengaluru: With the differences between the JDS and the Congress widening each day, chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, who is heading the coalition government, has given enough hints that the Karnataka government may not last beyond the coming Lok Sabha election.
Addressing JDS MLAs and MLCs meeting, an emotional Kumaraswamy reportedly told them that he was functioning like a clerk and not like a chief minister because of Congress’ interference in everything.
According to some JDS MLAs he explained the difficulties JDS is facing after they joined hands with the Congress to keep the BJP away from power in last May.
He said that Congress leaders were forcing him to do everything which favours them and he is left with no other option, but to listen to them.
A visibly upset Kumaraswamy told them that he was working under tremendous pressure and the Congress leaders always expect him to behave like their subordinate.
“He is sad. He almost cried. Told us that the Congress was behaving like a big brother. Forcing him to sign all kinds of orders. They forced him to expand the Cabinet and even appointed chairpersons to government run boards and corporations without his approval. He feels that it is getting tougher with each passing day,” said an MLA who was present in the meeting.
The JDS supremo and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, who was also present in the meeting, assured the legislators that he will not do anything against the coalition till the most crucial Parliament elections are over. Gowda reportedly told them that he was focusing on winning at least half a dozen Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka and he could not jeopardise the party’s chances.
Kumaraswamy’s elder brother and PWD minister HD Revanna, who had locked horns with some state Congress leaders recently, promised not to utter a word against them till Lok Sabha polls, claims a leader present in the meeting.
The Gowdas are also upset with the Congress over a remark on some JDS ministers’ educational qualifications by a Congress MLA Dr K Sudhakar.
Gowda is expecting 12 Lok Sabha seats from the Congress in this election. However, he has clarified that he is willing to settle for a smaller number of seats. According to party sources, the JDS is eyeing nine Lok Sabha seats. Karnataka has 28 Lok Sabha seats and currently the JDS has just two members. The Congress has 10 and the BJP has 16 MPs respectively.
The Congress is offering them just six seats and it has led to a serious friction in recent weeks.
Several state Congress leaders are worried that the party is ceding its space to the JDS and the BJP in Gowda stronghold of old Mysore region.
Many leaders from both the Congress and the JDS feel that coalition may collapse after the Parliament elections because of inherent contradictions in the alliance.
The state BJP which was trying hard to topple the JDS-Congress government is now focusing on the Lok Sabha elections. And the party leaders claim that they will form the government, if the coalition collapses on its own before or after the Parliament elections.