Kar’nataka’: Political drama prevails, blame it on ‘opportunistic’ Cong-JD(S) alliance

The political crisis began the day after the assembly elections, apparently because of the one-upmanship between the three parties.

Written by July 13, 2019 17:59

New Delhi: Ever since the Karnataka assembly elections threw up a hung assembly, the state government has been in the threos of political upheaval.

The current political turmoil follows many instances of ugly fights between the coalition partners Congress and JD(S), as both of them took turns to wash their dirty linen in public.

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Charges and counter-charges have been exchanged on a daily basis between the two allies, making both of them uncomfortable with each other.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s repeated outbursts against the alliance partner Congress and open admission of coalition pangs in public, only made the matter worse for the alliance.

How the opportunistic alliance was born?

The political crisis in the state began a day after the assembly elections, apparently because of the one-upmanship between the three parties.

BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats while Congress, which won 78 seats, stitched an alliance with JD(S) for 38 seats. BJP was invited to form the government but what unfolded a high-pitched drama and then Yeddyurappa suddenly resigning as CM moments before the trust vote. Following this, Cong-JD(S) formed an alliance and despite the latter being the smaller ally got the bigger share, with HD Kumaraswamy taking charge as Karnataka chief minister.

The two parties formed the government but there always existed a major trust deficit. JD (S) leaders consistently accused Congress of playing ‘big brother’ and fear that they will keep demanding their pound of flesh as it has 80 MLAs in the state. Congress silently played its card and without any controversy. It is evident from the fact that it drove a hard bargain for the portfolios in the Karnataka cabinet.

Current state of Affairs

Congress-JD(S) coalition ruled state is witnessing huge political upheaval with flurry of resignations by rebel MLAs and fast changing political equations in the state.

Congress leaders including Siddaramaiah have launched frontal attack on PM Modi and Amit Shah for its ‘Operation Kamal’ in the state.

Currently, the political drama in Karnataka is playing out in the open, with BJP and Congress-JD(S) trading barbs at each other. Alliance accuses BJP of poaching while the latter blames it on the ‘opportunistic tie-up’. Overall, the current stalemate is not over and more powerplay is yet to be seen.

Karnataka has a history of political uncertainty

It’s not for the first time that the Karnataka government has witnessed political uncertainty.

Kumaraswamy was speaking at the party programme organised to felicitate him for waiving off farm loans. “It is true that I wished to become the Chief Minister of this state before the elections and promised people so many things. The people are now happy but I'm not happy being the CM,” Kumaraswamy said. “If I want, I can step down any minute. Wherever I go, people come to greet me and tell me how they are happy about the farm loan waiver. What makes me sad is that they did not vote for my party to be able to form a majority. No state had the will to waive farm loans. There was so much opposition in the government but I kept my promise,” Kumaraswamy added. Kumaraswamy announced a conditional waiver of farmer loans, setting aside Rs 34,000 crore in the first Budget presented by the JD(S)-Congress coalition government at the Vidhana Soudha on Thursday. However, the loan waiver comes with a few conditions. The CM said that only loans up to Rs 2 lakh per farming family will be waived. Also, the waiver is only institutional credit and loans taken from private money lenders will not be waived. The reason behind this, he explained, was that after speaking to people concerned in the agricultural sector, he found that large landholding farmers had taken loans as high as Rs 40 lakh. “In this background, as per the opinion of the farming community that it is not right to waive higher-value crop loan, I have decided to limit the loan amount to Rs 2 lakh. Due to this crop loan waiver scheme, farmers will get benefit of Rs 34,000 crore,” the Budget text read.

For a decade now, the state has struggled to hold on a chief minister for entire five-year term. The 12th assembly had 3 CMs – Dharam Singh (Congress), Kumaraswamy (JD-S) and Yeddyurapp (BJP).

Yeddyurappa became the chief minister but couldn’t survive full term. His reign was alternated with BJP’s Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar.
It is to be seen whether the already shaky Congress-JD(S) coalition completes its full term.