Mayawati may have some role to play in Karnataka govt formation

Mayawati may have some role to play in Karnataka govt formation

BSP chief Mayawati interacts with former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda during a campaign for Karnataka Assembly Elections in Mysuru. PTI file photo

With pollsters predicting a hung Assembly in Karnataka, BSP chief Mayawati may have some role to play in the formation of the next government in the state.

Her party BSP, which has allied with HD Deve Gowda's JD(S) in Karnataka, is seeking a larger role in national politics and has been firming up non-BJP, non-Congress alliances in different states.

With indications of a hung assembly emerging in Karnataka and Mayawati keeping off BJP in Uttar Pradesh and forming a secular alliance with Samajwadi Party, there is a likelihood that she will exercise her stake in determining what course of action the JD(S), which believes it will be a king-maker, takes in the eventuality of neither the BJP nor the Congress getting majority on their own.

BSP believes that a possible poll alliance between JD(S) and BJP in Karnataka would be detrimental to Mayawati's calculations as it would demolish her plans to build a Dalit-Muslim combination in her favour. She is likely to persuade JD(S), which had earlier aligned with BJP to run the state, not to go with the saffron party and find a way to form a non-BJP government.

However, JD(S) will play hardball and would want its leader and Gowda's son, H D Kumaraswamy, to assume the seat of Chief Minister. It would also not be keen to support incumbent Congress Chief Minister Siddaramiah to continue as Gowda and the JD(S) have not yet forgiven the Kuruba leader for rebelling against them and joining the Congress by splitting the party.

In such a scenario, sources said, Mayawati's persuasion skills will be put to test and given her political calculations, it is to be seen whether she would suggest to Congress the name of any other leader to find a compromise with JD(S). She could even suggest the name of senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, a Dalit, as a possible compromise candidate, they said.

A senior JD(S) leader said it was “too premature” to comment on such propositions. “Wait till May 15 afternoon,” he said.

In such a scenario, the dilemma for Congress would be to convince Siddaramiah, as he controls the party in the state with a firm hand.

For the BSP, a successful negotiation in Karnataka would elevate the bargaining power of Mayawati, who is in the process of finalising an alliance with INLD in Haryana, nationally. She is also scouting for a formidable ally in Punjab and other states to increase her numbers in the 2019 elections.