A look at Karnataka’s tryst with rocky coalition governments

As Karnataka is looking at a possible government comprising Congress and the JD(S), here is look at previous coalition governments in the state:

Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: May 16, 2018 00:04 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Karnataka elections,Karnataka Election results,bjp
Outgoing Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and JD(S) president HD Kumaraswamy address the media after a meeting with governor Rudabhai Vala in Bengaluru on May 15.(PTI Photo)

This is not the first time that Karnataka stares at a possible coalition government with two parties — in this case the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) — coming together to try and form a government in the state.

Other experiments of this nature neither managed to last long nor offer good governance due to problems of power sharing. Here is a look at two previous coalition governments in Karnataka and how they fared:

Congress-JD(S) coalition

2004-06: After the 2004 Karnataka polls, when the SM Krishna-led Congress was reduced to 65 seats from 132, the party tied up with the JD(S), which had finished third, but with its best performance of 58 seats.

With Dharam Singh as chief minister and Siddaramaiah as deputy chief minister, the government was going strong until HD Kumaraswamy engineered a coup and decided to withdraw support to the government.

One of the factors for the failure of this government was the increasing influence Siddaramaiah was wielding in the JD(S) and his perceived shift towards the Congress.

Both party patriarch HD Deve Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy were angered by Siddaramaiah’s alleged attempts at trying to sideline them.

Kumaraswamy’s ambitions of becoming chief minister only added to the alienation between the two partners, and ended up bringing down the government.

JD(S)-BJP coalition

2006-08: Immediately after the Congress-JD(S) alliance was brought down, Kumaraswamy formed a government with the BJP’s support, even attracting his father’s ire in the process.

The coalition was formed after Kumaraswamy housed his party legislators in a resort to stop them from switching to the Congress, beginning the infamous “resort politics” of the time.

With Yeddyurappa as deputy chief minister, the coalition worked on the basis of a power-sharing plan under which Kumaraswamy and Yeddyurappa were to be chief ministers for 20 months each. This was the first time the BJP had been a part of any government in a state and in the south.

Despite his 20 months as chief minister having elapsed, Kumaraswamy refused to give up the chief minister’s post and the BJP, feeling hard done by, decided to withdraw support a year before the term was to end.

In the ensuing election, the BJP almost reached a simple majority, basing its campaign on the “betrayal” by Kumaraswamy in denying a Lingayat leader the chief minister’s post.

The BJP formed the government with the support of independents.

First Published: May 16, 2018 00:03 IST