Rebels defiant, split stares Gowda in face
The Janata Dal (Secular) is heading for a split in the state with a number of its MLAs, led by MP Prakash, refusing to go along with party leaders’ decision to join a coalition government led by a BJP chief minister.
They are worked up about the fact that this decision is a complete reversal of the JD(S) stand less than a month ago when it had broken its alliance with the BJP, solely because it was unwilling to reliquish the chief ministership, then held by HD Kumaraswamy.
Governor Rameshwar Thakur declined to comment on Sunday on whether he would invite the new BJP-JD(S) coalition headed by BS Yediyurappa — formerly deputy chief minister under Kumaraswamy — to form a government. But he spent much time holding consultations with his three newly-appointed advisors. Thakur will hold another meeting with the secretaries of all departments on Monday.
Thakur is expected to send his report on the political situation in Karnataka to the President and Union home minister on Monday. Whether he will root for dissolution of the assembly or suggest giving the BJP-JD(S) alliance another chance is an open question.
The BJP and JD(S) in turn were planning a joint legislature party meeting on Monday, after which they might parade their MLAs before the governor to convince him of their majority.
But Prakash insisted that the letter the JD(S) had handed over to the governor, expressing willingness to support the BJP, was ‘illegal’, drafted and signed without processes laid down in the party's constitution being followed. “I maintain the letter is illegal. I will take the next step after meeting other MLAs tomorrow,” he told reporters.
Congress leaders in turn also met the governor to impress upon him not to invite the new alliance to form a government. “This is an unholy alliance because the two parties fought each other on the streets for the last 20 days,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, state Congress president. “All the while both wanted dissolution of the assembly!”
Prakash claimed he had been ‘authorised’ by JD(S) legislators to explore forming a new coalition with the Congress, since many of them were against supporting a BJP chief minister.
The tug of war for the loyalties of the 58 JD(S) MLAs, between Prakash and Kumaraswamy, has only just begun.