In what is fast becoming a norm in Indian politics, any party which dares to ally with the Indian National Congress sees its fortunes dwindle to a point of no return. A living example of this norm is Karnataka’s Janta Dal (Secular) which is still paying the price for its short-lived post-poll alliance with the INC which betrayed the people’s mandate and stopped the BJP from returning to power in Karnataka.
Fast forward to 2020, BS Yediyurappa is now the Chief Minister of Karnataka after the fall of the HD Kumaraswamy government with the BJP increasing its presence in the state at a rapid pace. Reading the writing on the wall, HD Kumaraswamy is fast becoming an official bannerman of the BJP as he seeks to expose the Karnataka Congress to the hilt.
HD Kumaraswamy’s short-lived tenure as the Karnataka Chief Minister was fraught with instances of Congress Ministers and MLAs regularly insulting him with Kumaraswamy’s regular instances of bursting into tears because of alliance pressure from the Congress had become a subject of great ridicule.
As the alliance between the parties seems to have reached a point of no return, Kumaraswamy is going all out against the Karnataka Congress. The former Chief Minister has claimed that whatever goodwill that he earned during his first stint as the Chief Minister in an alliance with the BJP has been lost due to the alliance with the Congress.
During a press conference last week, Kumaraswamy said the JD(S) was “emotionally trapped” into a coalition with the Indian National Congress due to his father and former PM H.D. Deve Gowda’s commitment to secularism. He also claimed that he was not betrayed to ‘such an extent by BJP’.
After the fall of the HD Kumaraswamy government, the BJP has virtually swept almost every major election in the state which has taken place. The Congress-JD(S) alliance was drubbed in the Lok Sabha polls with even Deve Gowda losing from the seat of Tumakuru. HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Gowda from Mandya too, won by over 80,000 votes.
The subsequent by-elections have also presented a sorry tale for the JD(S)-INC with BJP sweeping the bypolls and a few JD(S) candidates even losing their deposits from erstwhile strongholds. It will be no exaggeration to say that the alliance with the INC ended up costing the JD(S) dearly; so much that it forgets retiring to power in Karnataka and is now battling to stay relevant.
During the tenure of the HD Kumaraswamy government, there were frequent internal bickerings in the alliance especially with former CM Siddaramaiah who was perhaps upset that Kumaraswamy was the CM at his expense.
Kumaraswamy squarely placed the blame of him losing the goodwill of the people on Siddaramaiah and “his group” in the Congress. He also accused Siddaramaiah of conspiring to weaken the JD(S).
It was this “propaganda” by Mr. Siddaramaiah that helped the BJP bag 105 seats in the elections. “Or else, the BJP would not have won more than 70 to 75 seats,” said Kumaraswamy as he recalled how Siddaramaiah during the run-up to the 2018 Karnataka Assembly Elections called JD(S) the “B” team of the BJP “just to keep one community away from the party”.
Fed up of the constant allegations of how he is cosying up with Karnataka CM BS Yeddiyurappa, Kumarswamy hit back as he claimed that he meets the Chief Minister openly unlike the “secret meetings” of Mr. Siddaramaiah. “Should I reveal whom he meets secretly?” retorted the JD(S) leader.
“It will be revealed when the time comes. The Congress leaders will themselves reveal it to you,” said Kumaraswamy when pressed upon the details of Siddaramaiah’s ‘secret meetings’.
In an interesting development, Kumaraswamy also said that the JD(S) will support any good work taken up by the BJP government. He also said that he favoured the present BJP government to continue, thereby delivering a fatal blow to the Congress’ hopes of returning to power in Karnataka.
The terrible reputation of Congress of not just going down itself but also dragging everyone who dares to ally with it into oblivion will ensure that it never gains a respectable ally again. JDS will remain a living yet an ailing example of Congress’ bad luck. These developments indicate that the INC has no chance of coming back to power in Karnataka, neither on its own nor by forming new alliances.