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Cong readying for post-poll scenario?

Congress leader Siddaramaiah. DH file photo

The survival of the H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government hinges on the outcome of the Lok Sabha election, and the Congress under its leader Siddaramaiah has started consolidating its position to prepare for any post-poll eventuality, pundits say.

A section of Congress leaders has held the belief that the alliance with the JD(S) was not in the party’s best interest and an adverse Lok Sabha election result could become just the excuse they need to seek a change of guard, or even break away from the coalition entirely.

Both parties have been sparring ever since polling concluded, followed by candid admissions that the alliance did not work as expected at the grassroots level.

The latest friction stems from demands for making Siddaramaiah chief minister again, which is seen as an attempt to ready the pitch if it came to that. The JD(S) is irked by this as it was the Congress that installed Kumaraswamy as CM promising him a five-year term. “This needs to stop. Otherwise, let them (Congress) go their way,” is how JD(S) MP Kupendra Reddy put it.  

According to sources, the JD(S) leadership has lodged a complaint with the Congress high command on the way Kumaraswamy’s position as CM is being ‘undermined’. But apparently, Siddaramaiah is under pressure from loyal legislators to assert the party’s position in the alliance given that they are unhappy over the way they are being treated vis-a-vis the JD(S) legislators.

“Clearly, Siddaramaiah is behind the leaders publicly seeking a second term for him,” political analyst S Mahadeva Prakash said.

“Siddaramaiah knows that the alliance with the JD(S) will spell doom for the Congress in southern Karnataka. So, he’s pinching the baby while rocking the cradle.

I don’t think this government will last after the Lok Sabha results are out,” S Mahadeva Prakash said.

The Congress has proclaimed that the alliance will win 20 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

The BJP, on the other hand, has maintained that it will win 22.

“If the BJP gets a good number of seats in Karnataka and the BJP gets to power at the Centre, the party will try to stake claim at forming the government here” Dharwad-based political analyst Harish Ramaswamy said.

If the Congress gets more seats, either Kumaraswamy will be allowed to continue for some more time and be asked to step aside or the Congress may go for elections on the basis of a favourable mood in the electorate,” he 
added.

But stakes are high for the JD(S) this Lok Sabha election, Ramaswamy pointed out.

“There’s a lot riding on whether or not HD Deve Gowda and his two grandsons win," he said.

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