The tension between the coalition partners in Karnataka intensified with JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda entering the scene to defend his son and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, from the Congress’ onslaught.
Gowda, who for the last seven months had maintained that all was well with the alliance, however on Wednesday categorically warned the grand old party that “things may go out of control”, if its state leaders did not stop denouncing Kumaraswamy.
He also used the JD(S) Plenary Session as a platform to hit out at his former protégé and coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah for creating hurdles for his son to function smoothly as the chief minister. He indirectly blamed Siddaramaiah for injecting a sense of instability in the coalition government for the past seven months.
Gowda was referring to the recent instances where followers of Siddaramaiah, including Congress legislators and Cabinet ministers, were seen publicly hailing the Kuruba leader as their chief minister. Kumaraswamy had not only lashed out at the Congress leaders, but he had also threatened to step down as chief minister.
The former prime minister indicated that Siddaramaiah was nursing a grouse on missed opportunities, which, he was now taking out against him and his son. Gowda said that Siddaramaiah had accused him of scuttling his chances of becoming chief minister twice (in 1996 and 2004).
“What pains me is that he (Siddaramaiah) in an interview to a television channel said twice that I could have gone to Delhi and ensured that he became the chief minister and that I did not. He also said that I did not impress upon Sonia Gandhi (then Congress chief) to make him the chief minister. He has been nursing this pain and anger for long now. But I have no hate. I am ready to discuss with him why I did not make him the chief minister on both occasions,” he added.
He also claimed that Kumaraswamy had no intentions of becoming the chief minister. “The Congress leaders put pressure on him to become the chief minister, though he was averse to the idea. But today, the Congress MLAs are complaining on a daily basis that Kumaraswamy is not accessible. The same party, however, turned the Muslim votes against us. How long can you go on?”
Further, he attacked Siddaramaiah and his supporters for pulling down Kumaraswamy, every time he attained a milestone. “Every time Kumaraswamy does some good work the MLAs (Congress) start issuing statements in the media — this happens every day.”
He warned the Congress of consequences. “We have hit the last stage. I appeal to the Congress high command to put an end to this. If they (Congress MLAs) don’t stop talking lightly about Kumaraswamy, it may go out of control. The national leaders should understand this.”
Unlike Gowda, who only attacked the Congress, Kumaraswamy chose to train his guns on the BJP. Reiterating that the BJP was trying its best to topple his government, he said that he was even prepared to face the no-confidence motion against him by the BJP. “The BJP has been continuously conspiring. I am even aware that the party is preparing to move a no-confidence motion against me. But the BJP will fail,” he added.