HD Deve Gowda Targets Siddaramaiah For Congress-JDS Coalition Collapse

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After the Congress-JDS coalition lost the vote, Mr Deve Gowda said its future rested with the Congress

Bengaluru: 

Rifts within the Congress-Janata Dal Secular alliance in Karnataka, already on edge after losing a controversial trust vote last month that handed the state to the BJP, are widening after veteran JDS leader HD Deve Gowda accused Congess’s Siddaramaiah of causing the coalition’s collapse. Mr Siddaramaiah hit back by attributing the blame to HD Deve Gowda and his family, including former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

On Thursday, following up on comments made the day before, HD Deve Gowda, 86, said the Congress had been “wrong” in making his son, HD Kumaraswamy, Chief Minister without consulting Siddaramaiah.

“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 HD Kumaraswamy is the next Chief Minister, it was their wrong decision,” the former Prime Minister said.

The Congress-JDS alliance took power in May last year; the two parties cobbled together a deal to keep the BJP out after the party won 104 seats but fell short of an absolute majority. As part of the coalition agreement, the Congress had conceded the Chief Minister’s chair to the Janata Dal Secular.

The fragile coalition collapsed last month, after sixteen MLAs (13 of whom were from the Congress) resigned amid high drama that included a stand-off between Congress strongman DK Shivakumar and the disgruntled leaders outside a Mumbai hotel.

Mr Siddarmaiah came under criticism after the collapse because some of the MLAs who resigned were believed to be close to him. However, he dismissed the allegation and said all would be made clear.

“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 tweeted

After the vote, Mr Deve Gowda said the coalition’s future depended on the Congress, also making it clear that Mr Siddaramaiah and not Mr Kumaraswamay would be Leader of the Opposition.

The relationship between the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular is complicated by the fact Siddaramiah was expelled from the JDS in 2004 for “anti-party activities”.

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