‘Pained, can’t keep quiet now’: Deve Gowda on alliance with Congress in Karnataka
Just a few days ago, Gowda’s son Kumaraswamy had threatened to step down as Karnataka chief minister.india Updated: Jan 31, 2019 19:35 IST
The differences between alliance partners Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka came to the fore again on Thursday with JD(S) chief Deve Gowda saying that he has been in pain over relations with the ally.
“It has been six months since Kumaraswamy became Chief Minister. All kinds of things have happened in these 6 months, till now I have not opened my mouth but I can’t keep quiet now,” Deve Gowda was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Deve Gowda said alliances cannot be run by asking the partner every day to not utter unparliamentary words.
Just a few days ago, Gowda’s son Kumaraswamy had threatened to step down as CM if the Congress decided it wanted to continue with Siddaramaiah. “It will not affect me, but Congress leaders. They must control their MLAs. If in open meetings, if they react like this, it is left to them. If they want to continue (with Siddaramaiah) I am ready to step down, they must think about all these things. Yes, they are crossing a line,” he had said.
Kumaraswamy was reacting angrily to Congress MLA ST Somashekar’s that had Siddaramaiah, who is currently the chief of the coordination committee of the coalition, been made the chief minister again, he would have changed the face of Bengaluru.
“In seven months of the coalition government, not even an action plan has been formed for the development of the city,” Somashekar said. “Whether he is power or not, all Congress workers say even today he is the chief minister, there’s nothing new in that”
The Congress did act against Somashekar and he was issued a show-cause notice.
Siddaramaiah also tried to douse the fire and said the MLAs will be “controlled” and assured its ally that there was no question of he taking over as the CM.
Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara of the Congress though said that MLA Somashekar was only expressing his opinion.
“(Siddaramaiah) is always the best CM, who said he isn’t? (Somashekhar) has expressed his opinion. (Siddaramaiah) is our CLP leader and (did) well the last five years, nobody can dispute that,” Parameshwara said.
However, other Congress leaders have also expressed similar sentiments.
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Karnataka Dy CM on ‘Congress MLAs say Siddaramaiah is their leader’’: Siddaramaiah has been best CM. He is our CLP leader. For the MLA, he (Siddaramaiah) is the CM. He has expressed his opinion. What is wrong in that? We are all happy with him (Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy).
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On Sunday, backward classes welfare minister MTB Nagaraj said that his heart always chanted the name of Siddaramaiah, who is the chief of the Congress legislature party. “The way Lord Hanuman’s heart kept chanting Lord Ram’s name, my heart chants the name of Siddaramaiah,” he said. Another minister, C Puttarangashetty said for him, Siddaramaiah was still the chief minister.
Former minister HM Revanna, too, said that Siddaramaiah had introduced many good programmes for the state as chief minister. “It was not a Lingayat leader who made it mandatory for government offices to have a photo of Basavanna, it was Siddaramaiah,” he said. A few days ago, MLA K Sudhakar said, “Siddaramaiah is not former but still the chief minister for us”.
Last month, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had broken down at a public meeting while claiming that Siddaramaiah was defeated by some vested interests. “He gave such a good government over five years and still the people did not support him,” he had said.
The seven-month-old Kumaraswamy government has faced multiple challenges since it came to power last May. The latest threat came earlier this month after the opposition BJP allegedly tried to lure away Congress MLAs to topple the government.
Comparisons between the current government and the previous one, where the Congress enjoyed a majority of 122 seats in the 224-member assembly, have been ever present over the past eight months. Thanks to his five-year term, Siddaramaiah became only the second chief minister complete the full term in state, since it was reorganised.
But having faced a defeat in the Chamundeshwari assembly constituency in the assembly elections in May, and only scraping through in the Badami seat, Siddaramaiah had taken a brief sabbatical in the immediate aftermath of the polls. Congress leaders had blamed Siddaramaiah for the setback the party faced in the polls.
However, since then, and especially after he was elevated to the All India Congress Committee, he has emerged as a rallying force in the Congress, with ministerial aspirants and disgruntled leaders choosing to deliberate with him and not other senior leaders.
Even after the recent Cabinet expansion in December, senior leaders had complained that Siddaramaiah’s choices had been preferred over others.
The controversy comes even as the parties are yet to formulate a seat sharing formula in the state ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Senior BJP leader Govind Karjol said it was clear that this government did not enjoy the support of its own legislators. “Of course, as an opposition we will raise questions about the functioning of the government. However, the Congress MLAs repeatedly insisting that Siddaramaiah’s government was better shows that they endorse our view that this government is not doing much work. This being the situation, in my opinion Kumaraswamy should resign, something that even Congress MLAs seem to be saying,” he said.
Political analyst Narendar Pani said the Congress seemed to be trying to project Siddaramaiah as its leader to consolidate its position for the seat-sharing discussions with the JD(S). “It looks like they want to put a united front to show that they are not dispersed to help them in the seat-sharing discussions the party will hold with former prime minister HD Deve Gowda,” he said.
First Published: Jan 31, 2019 18:56 IST