Karnataka: An uncomfortable coalition since day one and why the internal feud must be blamed
Bengaluru, July 12: The million dollar question is who is behind the Karnataka crisis. The issue has dragged on and the Speaker is yet to take a call on the resignation of the rebel MLAs.
In the interim all parties have thrown barbs at each other accusing each one of engineering the crisis. The BJP says that it is an internal feud within the JD(S) and Congress that is playing out. The ruling coalition however blames the BJP for carrying out Operation Lotus.
The fact of the matter is that the coalition was an uncomfortable one since day one. The Congress and JD(S) are not natural allies. Every time they have tried coming together, they have not survived long. There was an alliance between the two parties in 2004, when the JD(S) extended support to the Congress and made N Dharam Singh the chief minister. However the coalition lasted barely two years and a JD(S)-BJP government came into existence.
Further, if one looks at the politics on the ground level, the workers of the two parties have never been on the same page. Both parties share a common vote bank and the workers of the two parties are extremely suspicious of each other. The recently held Lok Sabha elections is proof of the same and the losses especially at Mandya and Mysuru is a clear indication that the alliance chemistry has not translated to the ground.
In the current scenario, one must also bear in mind the Siddaramaiah factor. A hardcore JD(S) man, he quit the party to join the Congress in 2006. It was clear back then he did not favour Deve Gowda giving more importance to his sons. He was well aware that he would not be able to nurture his chief ministerial dreams if he stayed on in the JD(S).
Siddaramaiah did fight it out and in 2013 lead the Congress to an impressive victory. An outsider, within the Congress, he managed to take over the top post and ruled the state of Karnataka for 5 years.
The 2018 elections ended up with a hung verdict, with the BJP leading the pack with 105 seats. To keep the BJP at bay, the Congress quickly offered the JD(S) the CM post and entered into an alliance. However there was one man who was clearly unhappy and that was Siddaramaiah. First and foremost, he had to give up the seat to the Gowda family, who are his sworn rivals.
Since day one there have been problems within the Congress. There have been many statements from Siddaramaiah loyalists asking them to make him the chief minister. Siddaramaiah himself has hinted that he could become CM again. There is a slight bit of suspicion that Siddaramaiah could be behind the crisis as many of his loyalists too have tendered their resignation. The man himself however denies it and said that he cannot reply to rumours.
Siddaramaiah has had several meetings with the high command, explaining how this coalition is only hurting the party. In June he had met with Rahul Gandhi and explained that they either pull out of the coalition or tilt the power balance in their favour. He felt that the Congress with 79 MLAs had given the JD(S) too much despite the party having just 37.
He has also explained that the workers on the ground are clearly unhappy and this was reflected in the recent electoral drubbing that both parties got in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. Both parties won just one seat each, while the BJP ended up 25 in Karnataka.
The issue relating to Siddaramaiah had cropped up even during a discussion between D K Shivakumar and Deve Gowda. During that meeting, Gowda clearly blamed Siddaramaiah for the crisis and said that he was nurturing chief ministerial aspirations. To this, Shivakumar replied stating that if they could make Siddaramaiah the CM and save the government, they must explore the possibility. Gowda, however put his foot down and said that if that were to be the case, then he would pull out of the government.