NDA’s victory could shake up the coalition in Karnataka

Anil Urs, Bengaluru | Updated on May 20, 2019

The Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka may suffer a blow if the exit poll results, predicting a resounding victory for the National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha polls, come true.

According to a senior Cabinet Minister belonging to the JD(S), the blame for the poor performance should squarely rest on the shoulders of the the coalition partners.

“If we fail to win enough seats, then we’ll have to blame ourselves for it and not the BJP,” he told BusinessLine. According to various exit polls, the BJP is expected to win between 21 and 23 seats compared with the seven it won in 2014. The UPA is expected to win between five and seven seats compared with the 11 seats it won during the last elections.

The infighting among the coalition partners is also one of the reasons for the the BJP to sense a chance of returning to power in the State.

Former Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, belonging to the JD(S), have been exchanging barbs, which has escalated tension between the coalition partners.

While Kumaraswamy allegedly said the senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge should have been made the chief minister, Siddaramaiah brought up Kumaraswamy’s brother HD Revanna’s name, claiming he should have been given a chance to become the chief minister.

Either of the parties are yet to call truce and political sources said leaders of the both the parties are holding meetings to ease the developing tension.

The Congress High Command has reportedly called a meeting in New Delhi ahead of the coordination meeting between the two parties. “Sensing danger to the coalition government, Congress High Command called the State unit office bearers on Sunday and has given strict instructions not to talk or air their opinion in public and follow the coalition dharma,” said a Congress leader.

The math of majority

The BJP needs nine more MLAs to grab power in Karnataka. On May 19, by-polls to the two constituencies — Kundagol and Chincholi — were held and the BJP may win these seats because of the infighting in the coalition.

The Congress, at present, has 77 MLAs excluding the Speaker, while the JD(S) has 37. With one BSP legislator supporting from the sidelines, the coalition has a total strength of 115. The BJP has 104 seats in the 224-member Assembly.

It has the support of two independents and if it wins both the by-elections it would need five more MLAs to topple the coalition.

Political analysts sid that it will be quite easy to get to that number if the BJP returns to power at the Centre and wins 21-22 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka as forecast by the exit polls.

Published on May 20, 2019

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