Speculation on change in state politics

H D Kumaraswamy

The exit poll predictions on the Lok Sabha elections have sparked intense speculation about the survival of the JD(S)-Congress coalition government led by H D Kumaraswamy.

The relationship between the coalition partners is expected to turn sour if the exit poll predictions hold on May 23: The BJP is predicted to win big — a maximum of 25 seats of the total 28 and minimum of 17 seats. This, in other words, means that the Congress-JD(S) pre-poll alliance has failed.

In fact, the trigger for the recent spat between the Congress and the JD(S) is the apparent failure of the alliance in the elections. Both the partners had been accusing each other of letting the other down during the elections. The poor show by these parties is likely to set off a major spat all over again, sources in the coalition said.

The sources said the Siddaramaiah-for-CM clamour would become louder after May 23 as many of the Congress MLAs are cut up with Kumaraswamy’s style of functioning.

The “like-minded” Congress MLAs, a majority of whom are Siddaramaiah supporters, may raise a banner of revolt against the Chief Minister.

Despite the Congress, high command’s diktat to the state unit not to make any adverse remarks on the coalition, the state leaders, especially MLAs, continue to make a pitch for Siddaramaiah as chief minister. Congress Koppal MLA Raghavendra Itnal on Monday openly said he wants to see Siddaramaiah as chief minister.

It is widely believed that the party has suffered major damage after joining hands with the JD(S). The leaders want to strengthen the organisation on priority so that it is prepared to face any eventuality, including midterm polls. Hence, the party will sooner or later start negotiations with the regional party to get the chief minister’s post, the sources said.

On the other end, the saffron party, led by B S Yeddyurappa, is likely to renew the efforts to install its government, leading to political instability. The Yeddyurappa camp firmly believes that the disgruntled Congress-JD(S) MLAs will voluntarily cross over to its side after May 23.

The BJP is said to have already started behind-the-scenes efforts to poach rival party MLAs using rebel Congress leader Ramesh Jarkiholi.

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