JD(S)-Congress strive to make alliance work in Karnataka
Chief minister Kumaraswamy believes his government has done well despite the constant spread of misinformation
Karnataka’s coalition government, which was cobbled together in May following a fractured verdict in the state assembly election, is completing six months in office, defying all odds.
However, the alliance of H.D. Kumaraswamy-led Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) and Congress, which kept the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power, has spent more resources and time to contain issues such as dissent in the coalition, than focus on those impacting the state.
Chief minister Kumaraswamy believes his government has done well despite the constant spread of misinformation affecting the morale of officials and sending the wrong message to the population, and has caused much hardship to the administration.
Nonetheless, the government has announced a slew of populist schemes such as loan waivers, countering Kumaraswamy’s own assurances to create more assets. The most important is the yet-to-be-implemented farm loan waiver of around ₹49,000 crore.
On Thursday, the government announced “Badavara Bandhu”, a scheme to give interest-free loans to street vendors, which follows the populist pattern of programmes, including debt relief waiver and proposed student loan waiver, among others.
But the alliance, which became a platform for opposition unity and raised hopes of an evolving grand alliance against the BJP, has witnessed several rounds of disagreements.
“We had teething issues earlier. We have since picked up the pieces, learnt to live with it and should pick up pace within the next six months,” said a Congress leader and minister in the government, requesting anonymity.
Narendar Pani, faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), however, said the government continues to be a “consolidation of individual party interests”. Harish Ramaswamy, faculty at the Karnatak University, Dharwad, added that the JD(S)-Congress combination has seen more electoral success than as a government.
The two parties have won six of the last seven bypolls (assembly and parliamentary) held after the assembly elections with the Congress winning four, the JD(S) two. The BJP had just one victory despite their impressive outing in May where it managed to win 104 of the 224 seats. The JD(S) and Congress managed to bag more numbers in the August urban local body elections as well.
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