The Congress- JD(S) coalition saw a defeat in the national elections, putting the newly formed alliance in exit mode in the state. The two barely managed to attain a seat each. JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda was among those who lost.
BJP, which won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats, is the largest party in the assembly with 105 seats, having won one of the bypolls on Thursday. It needs a mere eight MLAs to form a government for a simple majority of 113 in a 224-member House. The fall of the dissidence-ridden government of chief minister HD Kumaraswamy is imminent by all accounts. A question, merely, of when and not if.
The biggest winner of the Lok Sabha polls is the state BJP chief, BS Yeddyurappa. “We will wait for two days for the Congress and JD(S) to spell out their decision on whether they want to continue in office or not. If they don’t, we’ll take a decision,” a jubilant Yeddyurappa told reporters.
While a good show by the BJP was expected, nobody took Yeddyurappa seriously when he said the party would win 22 seats. The combined might of Congress and JD(S) was expected to fetch better results than in 2014 (11 seats). But the inherent weakness in the coalition arithmetic (both compete for the same set of voters, especially in the old Mysore region), the lack of integration of the two parties’ worker base at the ground level combined with the Modi wave and ‘nationalism’ fervour, decimated the coalition partners.
However, the partners are not going quietly into the night. By all accounts, every possible effort will be made to keep the government intact. Deve Gowda, was closeted with his son, H D Kumaraswamy, and state Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao to work out a survival scheme.
One alternative, offered by Congress, is to replace HDK with a Dalit candidate from Congress and offer the deputy CM’s post to JD(S) — possibly Gowda’s other son, H D Revanna. Many Congress MLAs have been unhappy with Rahul Gandhi’s decision to sacrifice the CM’s post despite JD (S) winning just 37 seats. “It is quite natural and justifiable for Congress MLAs to demand the CM’s post. A Congress CM would give more stability to the coalition government than Kumaraswamy,” said a senior Congress MLA.
The JD(S) will now wait for BJP to either poach Congress/JD(S) MLAs and pull down the government or prepare for a snap mid-term poll.