Karnataka elections: Has Kumaraswamy left for Singapore to negotiate on post-poll alliances?
Bengaluru, May 14: The highly-contested Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 got over on Saturday. In a few hours from now, on Tuesday, the results of the all-important elections will be out. But before that reports of post-poll alliances between various parties are flying thick and fast.
State president of the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)), HD Kumaraswamy, reportedly left for Singapore hours after the polling ended for the 222 seats out of 224 in the southern state last week. The former chief minister is likely to be back in Bengaluru on Monday evening.
The impromptu visit of Kumaraswamy to Singapore is causing ripples in the political circle of Karnataka. Insiders suggest that the JD(S) leader has shifted his base to Singapore (even for a few days) so that he could have "hassle-free" talks with both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before deciding on whom to support in case the election result does not give clear majority to any party.
Most of the exit polls have predicted a hung Assembly. The exit polls added that no political party will get 113 seats--the magic figure to form the next government in the state. Out of the 10 exit polls, six have given maximum seats to the BJP.
Interestingly, all the exit polls too maintain that the JD(S) will play the role of the "kingmaker" by either supporting the BJP or the Congress, depending on which side is in a better position to form the next government.
According to a report by News18, Kumaraswamy has left for Singapore to conduct post-poll negotiations. "Leaders from both the Congress and the BJP are in touch with him (Kumaraswamy) and with HD Deve Gowda (former Prime Minister and chief of the JD(S)). I think he has gone there (Singapore) to meet them. If they meet here, news will be leaked to the media," a close confidant of Kumaraswamy told News18.
Deve Gowda told reporters that his son has left for Singapore to get some rest as health wise his son is not doing very well. Sources close to the family stated that "Kumaranna" would also get some heath checkups done while in Singapore. So in a way even close aides are not denying that it is politics and not health that is Kumaraswamy's top priority now.
While both the Congress and the BJP are expressing confidence of forming the next government in Karnataka on their own, reactions of top leaders bereft any exuberance hours ahead of the poll results. On Sunday, incumbent CM Siddaramaiah told reporters that he would be ready to step aside for a Dalit CM if the party asked him to do so.
Although the Congress did not name anyone as its chief ministerial candidate, Siddaramaiah was in charge of the entire campaign. However, the BJP has named BS Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate. In case, the Congress joins hands with the JD(S), in all likelihood, the Deve Gowda clan's first demand would be to clip Siddaramaiah's wings, and give the coveted post to someone else. The incumbent CM, who was with the JD(S) and the right-hand man of the former PM, doesn't see eye to eye with his former mentor anymore.
Or will the JD(S) go with the BJP? Before the polls, both the Congress and the BJP alleged that the JD(S) is the "B-team" of their respective opponents. However, the regional party denied any such understanding and expressed confidence of winning the elections on its own. The JD(S) has formed an alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
While both the BJP and the Congress aspire to turn Bengaluru into next Singapore if they come to power, Kumaraswamy has no qualms to fly down to actual Singapore to have political parleys. After all, Singapore, the glitzy city, is in everyone's bucket list.