Congress-JDS puts up dismal show in LS polls, cabinet reposes faith in HDK

Bengaluru: “We have reposed faith and confidence in the leadership of Kumaraswamy ji as Chief Minister. This is the decision taken by all the Ministers today…. there is no instability to this government, it will continue,” said Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka G Parameshwara yesterday.

The ruling coalition government had a major setback as the BJP won 25 of the 28 seats in the State. Although there were reports that the Lok Sabha election results would have a bearing on the stability of the government, the cabinet yesterday reposed its faith on the chief minister and announced that the coalition would continue.

As voices emerged in the Congress to end the alliance, blaming the JDS partnership for the party’s worst ever performance in the Lok Sabha polls. JD(S) won only one of the seven seats it contested. Its patriarch H D Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil lost in Tumkur and Mandya, respectively.

According to media reports, Kumaraswamy offered to resign from the top post when some senior Congress leaders met him last evening. However, they convinced him against it and requested him to continue as the head of the coalition government and promised him full cooperation.

Discussions that were held in the meeting largely focused on saving the coalition and continuing the government, amid worries of dissidence within and threats of poaching attempts by BJP.

It is said that the chief minister spoke to AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal over phone after the results and requested him to come down to the city for a meeting to sort out differences in the coalition. He had also reportedly spoken to CLP leader and coalition coordination committee chief Siddaramaiah over phone and the latter assured him support to continue the government.

The deputy CM said that the informal cabinet meeting called by the CM took stock of the situation after the Lok Sabha election results and that they discussed about it at length and this referendum or mandate is nationally for the government at the Centre and not for the state.

“They will not be successful and we will not allow them to succeed in destabilising the government,” said Parameshwara accusing the opposition BJP in the State. Kumaraswamy did not say or address the media as he sat along with cabinet colleagues throughout.

Kumaraswamy agreed to convene a joint legislature party meeting of both Congress and JD(S) that has been a long-standing demand and also district and department wise meetings with MLAs to address their concerns, he said.

Another minister said the coalition coordination committee would meet soon to discuss the way ahead for smooth functioning of the government. He said they also resolved to save the coalition at any cost by strategizing against BJP’s plans to poach a few of their MLAs and destabilise the government.

It is said that CLP chief Siddaramaiah or the CM may even speak to rebel Congress MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi.

According to media reports, Kumaraswamy met Siddaramaiah at his home in the evening and discussed poll results and party developments.

Meanwhile, the Congress ministers had met earlier in the day and discussed the need to save the coalition for the sake of both parties. Congress is also likely to convene the CLP meeting next week to discuss the same, and also with an intention to keep its flock together amid worries of dissidence and poaching by BJP.

However, a Congress Minister who attended the cabinet meeting said they impressed upon the Chief Minister to look into issues raised by party MLAs about their constituencies and governance related issues and also sought better coordination between both parties and the government.

The Karnataka assembly has 224 members, in which BJP has 105 MLAs, Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP (1), independent (1) (both now supporting the ruling alliance), KPJP (1) and the Speaker.

NT Bureau