Bengaluru: JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda has indicated the Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka collapsed because the national party’s high command decided to make his son H D Kumaraswamy the chief minister without consulting its leader Siddaramaiah. Continuing to target Siddaramaiah, the former prime minister termed the Congress high command decision ‘wrong’, a day after he had alleged that a few Congress friends wanted to unseat the coalition government as they could not see Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister.
“I have clearly said that without taking Siddaramaiah, who was Chief Minister for five years, into confidence Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi all of a sudden came and said Kumaraswamy is the next Chief Minister, it was their wrong decision,” Gowda told reporters here on Thursday. He was referring to his interview to a newspaper in which he had held Siddaramiah responsible for the collapse of the government last month, but in remarks made on Wednesday did not name Siddaramaiah.
The coalition government collapsed on July 22 after the confidence motion moved by the then Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy was defeated in the Assembly, bringing to an end his 14-month long turbulent tenure marked by dissidence within the Congress. Raising a banner of rebellion, sixteen MLAs (13 from the Congress and 3 JDS) had resigned as legislators which culminated in the fall of the coalition government.
Siddaramaiah had come under criticism after the government collapsed as most of the rebel Congress MLAs, including S T Somashekar, Byrati Basavaraj, MTB Nagaraj, Munirathna and K Sudhakar, were considered his loyalists. However, rubbishing claims that he instigated those MLAs to resign and destabilise the government, Siddaramaiah had called the allegation as false made with malafide intention.
“Rebel MLAs are trying to shift the blame on me after widespread public backlash against them for betraying & back-stabbing both the electorate & the party. Everything will be clear when the dust settles but by then they would have bitten the dust,” he had tweeted. Congress and JDS considered arch rivals, especially in old Mysuru region, had bitterly fought against each other during the 2018 Assembly polls, but joined hands after the elections threw up a hung verdict to keep BJP, the single largest party in the 225-member Assembly, out of power.
Since day one, the government was facing trouble from within as barring the top leaders of both parties, their rank and file did not accept the alliance. Reflecting strains in the JDS-Congress coalition government in Karnataka, Kumaraswamy had once said he was “not happy” being in the top post and was swallowing the pain like ‘Vishakantha’ (Lord Shiva), who drank poison.
At one stage, many legislators and also Ministers from the Congress demanded that their legislature party chief Siddaramaiah be made the Chief Minister, prompting Kumaraswamy to even threaten to step down before the rebels took the decisive step of resigning as MLAs. Following the collapse of the government, BJP under the leadership of B S Yediyurappa has assumed power on July 26 and proved its majority in the Assembly two days later.