Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa (HT file)
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa (HT file)

JD(S), Congress spar over coalition collapse; Yediyurappa fights dissent

  • Siddaramaiah said that it was Deve Gowda, HD Kumaraswamy and HD Revanna who had caused the Congress-JD(S) alliance to collapse by not taking everyone into confidence
  • Yediyurappa, meanwhile, is looking to contain the growing dissent that threatens to rock the one-month-old government

Bengaluru: Former Karnataka chief minister and senior Congress leader, Siddaramaiah on Friday tore into Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) supremo, H.D. Deve Gowda at a personal and political level, potentially ruling out any truce between traditional rivals who have to keep up the alliance afloat despite its insurmountable differences.

Denying allegations that he had actively played a part to destabilise the coalition government, Siddaramaiah said that it was Deve Gowda, H.D.Kumaraswamy and H.D.Revanna who had caused the alliance to collapse by not taking everyone into confidence and working unilaterally.

“If they had taken everybody into confidence and worked for development for their constituencies, there would not be any dissent," Siddaramaiah said in Bengaluru on Friday.

The tirade taking the gloves off on both sides that also gives the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and chief minister, B.S.Yediyurappa more time to focus on dissent brewing within his own government as the Opposition continues to be busy fighting a battle between themselves in a state that has seen the continuation of political uncertainty while it battles one of its worst floods in almost half a century. .

After around 14 months of bitter infighting, Kumaraswamy stepped down on 23 July after at least 17 legislators resigned allegedly at the behest of the BJP that had been working on the sidelines to take advantage of the discord.

Deve Gowda on Friday said that it was the Congress high command that had taken a decision to ally with the JD(S) without consulting local leaders like Siddaramaiah. In an earlier interview with Mint, Deve Gowda had the Congress top brass led by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had taken an “hasty decision" to insist on Kumaraswamy being made chief minister without consulting its own state leaders.

Siddaramaiah also alleged that the JD(S) was responsible for BJP to spread its roots in Karnataka by allying with them in 2006. The BJP has had a good working relationship with the JD(S) at the grass root level and had worked to defeat Siddaramaiah in his home constituency of Chamundeshwari in 2018. The BJP has made inroads into south Karnataka that helped the party bag 105 seats in the assembly elections and a record 25 out of the 28 parliament seats earlier this year that helped the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah-led party to return to office with a bigger majority.

“It is true that I told the high command that we should go for a friendly and not as an alliance," Siddaramaiah said, dismissing reports that he was responsible for Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy’s son, Nikhil’s loss in the elections.

The defeat in the parliamentary elections added to the discord between the JD(S) and Congress that led to the collapse of the coalition as well as the government.

For the JD(S), an alliance with the Congress was bound to be mutually destructive in the old Mysuru region or Vokkaliga belt — a community that has consolidated behind Gowda in recent times.

Siddaramaiah was considered the political heir to Deve Gowda until the latter started to favour his son Kumaraswamy. Siddaramaiah parted ways with the JD(S) in 2006 and joined the Congress. “Deve Gowda doesn't tolerate anybody growing in his party and even in the Vokkaliga caste he can't stand anybody growing into a leader. He only cares for his family," he said.

The discord between the two is likely to help Yediyurappa, who can focus to contain growing dissent within his own party after several seniors were left out of the Cabinet. Yediyurappa returned to Bengaluru on Friday after meeting BJP top brass in Delhi apparently to find help in containing the growing dissent that threatens to rock the one month old government.

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