After the Karnataka polls HD Kumaraswamy has been in advantage and is able to get whatever he wanted from the Congress. In order to fulfill his demands he tried all sorts of tricks and tantrums. He even threatened to resign if his party didn’t get the finance ministry. His threats and tricks have worked and he has outsmarted the Congress each and every time. He is making the most out of the compulsion of the Congress party to remain in government with JD(S) in order to keep the BJP out of power.
But now it looks like it’s time for HD Kumaraswamy to bite the bullet. He is finding it more difficult to handle his elder brother HD Revanna than the Congress. It is believed that HD Revanna is the favorite son of his father and former Prime Minister Deve Gowda. Revanna wants his both the favorite Public Work Department (PWD) and Power portfolios. HD Revanna held the same portfolios during the previous Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka between 2004 and 2006 and again under the JD(S)-BJP coalition led by HD Kumaraswamy between 2006 and 2007. Deve Gowda convinced Rahul Gandhi to allocate both these two powerful portfolios to the JD(S) against the wishes of the state congress leadership. The state congress leadership is very upset with this decision of Rahul Gandhi who is imposing his diktat on the state leadership in each and every matter. The Congress crisis manager, DK Shivakumar who had the powerful portfolios under Siddaramaiah government has publicly expressed his pique. He said, “Revanna is a big leader. I am not. I won’t comment on him. The party has given me the job of a watchman. I am happy with it”.
This time not just the Congress but the Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and his MLAs are also rattled. Especially MLAs of Hassan district are very angry with the decision of allocating two powerful portfolios to Revanna. Revanna has also asked his father to convince his brother Kumaraswamy to not allocate any portfolios to any other MLAs of Hassan. Sa Ra Mahesh, Senior JD(S) MLA from neighbouring KR Nagara constituency in Mysore also raised objection over giving two power ministries to Revanna. He told media that Revanna should not be given both the ministries, PWD and Power portfolios.
Anger and frustration is not only limited between the coalition partners and MLAs . The Families of Revanna and Kumaraswamy are also at loggerheads, they have always been competing with each other to extract a larger pound of flesh. According to News18 report, an old associate of Gowda said, “Not all is well in the family. Deve Gowda is trying hard to hold them together. The women and grandchildren can ruin the perfect arrangement Gowda clinched with the Congress”. Also Revanna’s son Prajwal is angry with his uncle Kumaraswamy for not giving him ticket in the Karnataka assembly election and Revanna is worried that his younger brother may promote his son Nikhil Kumar over his son Prajwal.
Kumaraswamy seems to be in the big dilemma now, if he gives both the PWD and power portfolio to Revanna than it would make his MLAs angry and as well as the coalition partner Congress. And if he refuses to give both the two portfolios to Revanna than it would further escalate the tensions in the Gowda household.
The Karnataka cabinet expansion will take place on Wednesday. According to power-sharing accord, JD(S) bagged 12 portfolios and Congress got 22 portfolios. It is also believed that BJP offered Revanna deputy Chief Ministership, which he declined. To keep him and his followers with HD Kumaraswamy and the Congress, they have no choice but to let him have the ministries of his choice. But still, It would be interesting to see how Kumaraswamy is going to deal with this situation.