Kumaraswamy: The emperor has no crown

Last Updated 23 May 2018, 12:52 IST

Kumaraswamy was the happiest person after the Karnataka election results were announced. Though he was unable to stop the saffron surge in the state, the Congress backed the JD(S), allowing him to bid for the chief minister's post. The fractured mandate transformed him from a "kingmaker" to a "king" in just a day. Post results, he sought an appointment with Governor Vajubhai Vala to stake claim to form the government. But as B S Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the chief minister, hope was fading for the Vokkaliga strongman.

Kumaraswamy had been singing a different tune all through the election campaign. He was stubbornly maintaining that he alone would be the chief minister and that there was no question of joining hands with any party. He claimed that he would be the "king" and not the "kingmaker". As the opinion polls projected a hung assembly in Karnataka, he was apparently ready to be in the role of kingmaker to whomever was willing to strike a deal.

The Congress’s decision to back the JD(S) isn’t surprising. It is evident that the only way the BJP can be defeated is if all its rivals come together. The Congress, which won 78 seats, swiftly decided to sacrifice the chief minister's post to keep the BJP out. Senior Congress leaders arrived in the state capital to negotiate over forming a coalition. Even Independent MLAs offered support to the JD(S). Everything turned out to be in Kumaraswamy's favour until the governor decided to invite Yeddyurappa, being the leader of the single largest party, to form the government.

Kumaraswamy knows the art of grabbing a chance when he sees it, but this time he almost lost the game to BJP's strategies. Now it's time for "resort politics" to prevent legislators from being influenced or poached by the BJP. If the BJP fails the floor test, the tide could turn in his favour again. The last few days have all been about swinging fortunes for the JD(S) leader. But as of today, this kingmaker turned king wears no crown.

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(Published 18 May 2018, 14:11 IST)

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