HDK says will resign, stay on, Cong tells CM

Congress president Rahul Gandhi seen with former Prime Minister and JDS Supremo, HD Deve Gowda, CM HD Kumaraswamy, Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, KC Venugopal and others. (Photo TPML)

The BJP’s landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections has triggered tremors in the Congress-JD(S) coalition, with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy offering to resign on Friday. But the Congress, sensing the volatility of the situation, asked Kumaraswamy to stay put and continue. 

At an informal Cabinet meeting that Kumaraswamy had convened amid the atmosphere of unease, the Congress asked him to continue as chief minister. The meeting was to discuss the aftermath of the Lok Sabha election results that saw the BJP win 25 of the 28 seats.

The decision to ask Kumaraswamy to stay on was taken at a breakfast meeting where CLP leader Siddaramaiah and other top leaders discussed the prevailing political situation with Congress ministers. It is said that the Congress preferred status quo as any transfer of power now could only add to the confusion.  

“The CM said he was mentally ready (to resign) if we did not want him to lead the government, but he was cut off saying the Congress was committed to seeing him continue,” a Cabinet minister said. This makes it the second time the Congress has offered power to the JD(S) — the first was last year when the party knocked on Kumaraswamy’s door after the Assembly elections.

The Cabinet discussed ways to keep legislators together amid a threat of poaching by the BJP, which is now emboldened after its historic Lok Sabha win. A joint legislature party meeting of Congress and JD(S) is likely to be held on May 28.

A Cabinet reshuffle cannot be ruled out as Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara told Kumaraswamy that some Congress ministers were ready to resign in order to accommodate disgruntled legislators, sources said. 

At the insistence of Congress ministers, Kumaraswamy is said to have agreed to hold talks with legislators who have complained of being shortchanged under the Kumaraswamy regime. The CM will hold district-wise, department-wise meetings to hear MLAs out, sources said. 

“All ministers have expressed confidence in Kumaraswamy’s leadership. We will work together and the government will continue,” Parameshwara said, briefing reporters.

Asked about the demands for Kumaraswamy to resign, Parameshwara said: “But the Lok Sabha election result was not a mandate for the state government. We got the mandate last year and we will continue for the next four years and fulfil promises we have made to the people.”

During the breakfast meeting, Siddaramaiah told ministers that the BJP should not be allowed to topple the government “at any cost”.

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