Will the Cong-JD(S) alliance survive?
A day after the collapse of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka, leaders of both parties are privately pondering the future of the alliance but publicly claiming that all is well.
Karnataka JD(S) president H K Kumaraswamy told the media the alliance would continue for the time being after taking stock of the political situation in a meeting with senior party leaders.
“Politics is not like still water but keeps flowing. Our party leaders will take a call on the alliance issue,” party spokesperson and JD(S) legislator, T A Shravana, said.
However, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao said it was upto the “party high command to take a decision on the issue (of continuing the alliance with JD(S)).”
A senior Congress leader from south Karnataka said it was bad that the coalition government had collapsed, but there was also a sigh of relief among workers. “We carried the palanquin and Kumaraswamy sat in it. Also in south Karnataka, the JD(S) has been our traditional rival and workers were confused because of this coalition arrangement. The BJP, which earlier had no presence here, was growing because of this. This will now come to an end.”
The same leader, who did not wish to be named, added that the Congress would continue to work with the JD(S) in the assembly as the BJP was a common enemy. “Also, there are no immediate elections in the near future. We will go back to strengthening the Congress, so we can come back to power on our own without needing anybody’s help.”
However, Harish Ramaswamy, professor in the department of political sciences, Karnataka University, was sceptical about the alliance continuing between the Congress and JD(S). Pointing out that there had been no pre-poll alliance between the two, he said the coalition was a temporary arrangement arrived at as it suited both parties. The Congress wanted to keep the BJP at bay and the JD(S) was happy that, in spite of having only 37 seats in a 225-member assembly, it was offered the chief minister’s post, he said.
“Once the BJP forms a government under Yeddyurappa, Congress’s Siddaramaiah is most likely to occupy the leader of Opposition post and Kumaraswamy would be the JD(S) legislature party leader. Since their common enemy is the BJP, they would work together in the assembly; outside it would be different as in JD(S) strongholds the primary fight is with the Congress and not the BJP,” he added.
He said that unlike the Congress, the JD(S) was a parochial party limited to a certain geography, dominated by one family and supported mainly by one caste. The interests of the two parties diverge, so there was no possibility of a long-term alliance, he added.