Karnataka crisis is a result of simmering discontent among Congress, JD(S) MLAs

K Giriprakash Bengaluru | Updated on July 11, 2019 Published on July 11, 2019

DK Shivakumar   -  The Hindu

The Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government, which has been on the brink right from the day it was sworn in, is now imploding.

Neither power nor pelf seems to have worked so far to get the 12 rebel Congress legislators back into the fold. The effort failed when the mastermind behind the formation of the coalition, DK Shivakumar, was detained by the police in Mumbai, where he had gone to get the MLAs back to Bengaluru.

The rebellion in Congress has been simmering for a long time. Quite a few legislators, it is learnt, have been petitioning the party leadership about the step-motherly treatment from the JD(S) top leadership including Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. While the major grievance is that their constituencies have not been allocated adequate funds, what has angered them more is the feeling that Congress leadership has failed them.

HDK’s power games

A Congress legislator apparently was shocked to find that the government had reduced the funds for his constituency to ₹10 crore from ₹100 crore previously for infrastructure development and social welfare measures. In another case, an MLA from Bengaluru, who has been seeking an extension of the metro rail to his constituency, was informed that the JD(S) minister and the Chief Minister’s brother HD Revanna had shot down his proposal.

There are more such stories of heart burn among Congress MLAs. “Congress MLAs know that the real power lies with the JD(S) leadership. They claim that the JD(S) is taking away all the credit and they have nothing to offer to their supporters and the constituency. This is the crux of the crisis in Karnataka,” said Harish Ramaswamy, a political analyst. “The coalition partners should have worked out the parametres of their alliance right from the beginning,” he added .

Also, they feel Congress ignored their advice and entered into a seat-sharing pact with the JD(S) even for the Lok Sabha election. They claim that the party could have won more seats had it had nominated its own candidates in all the 28 constituencies.

At the same time, Kumaraswamy has his own set of grievances against his ally, especially former Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, whom he has accused of not allowing him to function freely. Soon after the Lok Sabha election, he claimed the Congress had hatched a plot to defeat his son, Nikhil in the Mandya constituency in south Karnataka, a traditional stronghold of his party.

Kumaraswamy has also accused the BJP of trying to destabilise his government. But political analysts said the BJP has merely taken advantage of the infighting in the coalition.

Party sources said the BJP is not in a position to seek a mid-term poll as it is not confident of bagging enough seats to stake a claim to form the government nor is the Centre keen on holding another election just 13 months after the first one.

In the end, however, it will play out to the advantage of the BJP as resignations by the legislators will reduce the total number of elected representatives in the Assembly. This will allow the BJP to return to power as the number of MLAs it has now will exceed that of the JD(S)-Congress combine if it moves no-confidence motion against the ruling coalition.

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Published on July 11, 2019
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