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Cong-JDS coalition comes under shadow of electoral rout, face uncertainty

As the BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls, casting a shadow on the coalition, an upbeat state party chief B S Yeddyurappa said Congress and the JD(S) have to decide their future course of action.

PTI PTI
Bengaluru Published on: May 23, 2019 21:38 IST
Cong-JDS coalition comes under shadow of electoral rout,
Image Source : PTI

Cong-JDS coalition comes under shadow of electoral rout, face uncertainty

Facing a rout in the Lok Sabha polls, numerically shaky Congress-JDS government in Karnataka led by H D Kumaraswamy appeared to be at the cusp point amid fears that the outcome would have a bearing on its stability.

Badly mauling the Congress and JDS, the BJP has pulled off a spectacular electoral feat, winning 22 Lok Sabha seats and leading in three more, leaving one each to be shared by the coalition partners and an Independent.

A complete sweep as this has stunned the BJP itself which was expecting a maximum of 22 seats and caused tremors within the ruling coalition, which has been facing existential crisis right from the day it formed the government a year ago.

It was exactly one year ago that Kumaraswamy was sworn in as head of the coalition government after heightened political drama that saw B S Yeddyurappa, the leader of the single largest party BJP, resigning as Chief Minister of a three-day old government,unable to prove his majority in the assembly.

Kumaraswamy's swearing in on May 23, 2018 saw a galaxy of top leaders and regional satraps in a rare public show of unity, perceived as a possible harbinger of a broad-based anti-BJP alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Exactly one year after that historic get together of leaders of non-BJP parties, that later came to be known as "mahagatbandan", results of Lok Sabha polls Thursday saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA storm back to power with an emphatic win, completly negating their "Modi hatao" agenda. 

Equally important will be its impact on the longevity of the Kumaraswamy led coalition government here.

The saffron sweep in the state bears ample testimony to the fact that neither arithmetic nor chemistry worked for the two coalition partners, as they remained hostile to each other at the ground level, putting the arrangement in jeopardy.

Almost all stalwarts of the ruling coalition, including JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, veteran Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Veerappa Moily and K H Muniyappa faced defeat in the polls.

The development has cast its shadow on the future of the coalition as the alliance's stability itself is at stake. 

It has been a turbulent one year for the government that came into existence as Congress and JD(S), arch rivals in the  old Mysuru region, came together to form a coalition as the May 2018 assembly polls threw up a hung verdict. 

Coalition worries,dissidence in alliance partner Congress and a strong BJP with 104 MLAs allegedly trying to poach MLAs of the ruling alliance, repeatedly aiming to destabilize the government marred the smooth functioning of the government. 

Putting up a brave face, coalition leaders decided to jointly fight the LS polls and reached a seat sharing agreement of 21 and seven seats for the Congress and JD(S).

 
But it was not something grassroot level workers of both parties were okay with, especially in old Mysuru region, where they are arch rivals.

It was a two phase polling of 14 constituencies each on April 18 and 23 in which BJP contested in 27 of 28 seats and supported independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh in Mandya.

Calling the Lok Sabha election results "unexpected", Kumaraswamy said leaders of his party JD(S) and Congress would  deliberate on the reasons behind the defeat.

Kumaraswamy conceded defeat and said he respected the mandate of the people. 

"Our party has seen many victories & losses over the years and party workers need not lose heart on this loss. Let us strive to strengthen the party in the days ahead," the Chief Minister tweeted.

The BJP in Karnataka Thursday said it would "wait" and see how the ruling coalition partners, Congress and JDS, would spar in public before deciding its next step following its spectacular electoral feat.

As the BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls, casting a shadow on the coalition, an upbeat state party chief B S Yeddyurappa said Congress and the JD(S) have to decide their future course of action.
 
"The decision has to be taken by the leaders of Congress and JD(S). We will first wait to see how the two coalition partners fight and spar in public and then we will see what can be done next," Yeddyurappa told reporters here.

According to sources, despite efforts by both parties to pacify their cadres and ensure transfer of votes to eachother, the alliance did not work that had its implications on  the poll outcome and in turn the stability of the government.

Voices have started emerging in Congress to end the alliance, holding the partnership with JD(S) as the reason for the party's disastrous performance ever, in the Lok Sabha polls, amid growing disgruntlement within.

Amid dissidence within the Congress, open expression of dissent agains the Chief Minister and growing clamour for CLP leader Siddaramaiah to become CM have already made matters worse for the coalition.
 
Add to the coalition woes, rebel MLAs like Ramesh Jarkiholi, who has been hobnobbing with the BJP are threatening to resign along with other MLAs after the Lok Sabha poll results.

The BJP, on its part, has predicted the collapse of the coalition and 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 after May 23.

And, alliance leaders fear that taking advantage of the dissidence within after the Lok Sabha poll results may indulge in alleged "poaching" of MLAs, through 'operation kamala', with an intention to bring down he government.

The Karnataka assembly has 224 members, in which BJP has 105 MLAs, Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP (1),independent (1) (both currently supporting the ruling alliance), KPJP(1) and Speaker.

With the Congress-JDS alliance in Karnataka facing a humiliating defeat in Lok Sabha polls, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has called an "informal" cabinet and a JDS legislature party meeting to review the results on Friday.

Of the 28 constituencies that went to the polls, BJP had won 17,Congress in 9 and JD(S) in two in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

However, during the by-poll in November last year BJP had lost the Bellary seat to Congress. 

 

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