The Congress party is running a coalition government in Karnataka with JD (S). The JD (S), despite being the junior partner (in terms of numbers) to the coalition government in the state, it has showed a complete lack of faith in the leadership of Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Everything is not well between JD (S) and the Congress. Time and again the lack of trust has been seen in the statements of their leader. CM Kumaraswamy had said, “Alliance of JD (S) with Congress for Lok Sabha polls depends on how it treats JD (S).” The Congress Party has always adopted the policy of ‘use and discard’ towards regional parties. Its alliance partner in Karnataka is very well aware of this and that’s why they don’t trust Congress party and also do not consider Gandhi scion to be worthy of Prime Ministership or as an acceptable leader of any grand alliance against the BJP.
The JD (S) strongly believes that the National President of the Janata Dal (S) party, H. D. Deve Gowda is much more qualified than Rahul Gandhi to lead any coalition government. Janata Dal (Secular) state unit president and Hunsur MLA AH Vishwanath said, “The regional parties have seen Deve Gowda as an alternative leader to Modi. Deve Gowda is the unquestionable leader in regional parties. His political experience will make him the leader of all regional parties.”
Deve Gowda has the experience of leading a coalition government in the past. Deve Gowda was the eleventh Prime Minister of India from 1 June 1996 to 21 April 1997. He headed the united front coalition of 14 parties backed by the Congress and the Left parties (318 MPs). Deve Gowda is still very popular in Karnataka. He did a lot of good work during his short tenure as Prime Minister such as bringing in the citizen charter, giving tax holidays to IT companies and gave a dream budget in 1997. He did such good work for agriculture that farmers of Punjab named a variety of rice after him. At present, his party has a good support base in South India.
Deve Gowda government had fallen because the Congress party had withdrawn its support from the the coalition government. In April 1997, the then Congress Party President Sitaram Kesri announced the withdrawal of support from the Gowda government citing the reason that PM was not consulting the Congress party on major policy decisions. However, the real reason behind withdrawing support was that Gowda refused to follow the Congress diktats. Gowda rejected Sitaram Kesri’s proposal of supporting Mayawati as chief minister and he also rejected Kesri’s plea to remove Romesh Bhandari as UP Governor. So, it’s quite possible that the JD (S) might end up playing vendetta politics.
This is not the first disapproval of Rahul Gandhi by the so-called allies of the Congress party. After his hug and wink act in the parliament during the no-confidence motion, RJD national spokesperson Shankar Charan Tripathi had slammed Rahul Gandhi and called him ‘immature’.
Other so-called allies of the Congress have time and again raised questions over Rahul Gandhi’s leadership skills. In fact, the most obvious and lethal of the rifts is the dispute for leadership between Mamata Banerjee and the Congress represented by its president Rahul Gandhi. Mamata Banerjee has tried giving the cold shoulder to Rahul Gandhi given his weak leadership and organisational skills. However, Congress has time and again voiced its concerns about this and has made it clear that it will not accept any outside leadership and wants Rahul Gandhi to lead the much hyped anti-BJP front.
There is still lot of time left before the general elections and Deve Gowda’s name is already in the long list of PM-in-waiting. There are many other PM aspirants like Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Pawar etc they all have ambitions to become PM. Certainly, given the inept leadership of Rahul Gandhi and his dismal electoral record, in the coming days many more regional satraps would try to push forward their name as the PM candidate of the opposition alliance, further weakening the Congress party and making India free from the Gandhi dynasty.