Hours after BS Yeddyurappa resigned as Karnataka chief minister ahead of a crucial trust vote in the Assembly on Saturday with numbers stacked against the BJP, Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the alliance of Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress to form the next government.
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy said the governor had given him 15 days to prove majority in the House, "but we will do it much before". The post-election alliance of the JD(S) and Congress, which claims the support of 117 members, will be headed by Kumaraswamy, who is to take oath as the chief minister for a second time on 23 May.
To cement the new friendship and discuss the modalities of government formation with Congress, the JD(S) chief will fly to the National Capital on Monday and meet with Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Monday's meeting between Rahul and Kumaraswamy will, however, also be seen in the context of the rancorous campaigns the Congress and JD(S) ran against each other in the months preceding the polls.
While Rahul termed JD(S) as BJP's B-team, Kumaraswamy (who insisted that his party will go for re-elections in case of a hung Assembly) had said it will "not be a surprise if Congress gets only 25 seats" in the polls.
"I have said this many times, in the democratic set-up of this country, they (Congress) are more dangerous than the BJP. Today if we stand next to the BJP and just cough, the Congress will be washed out of Karnataka. Whatever little dignity the Congress has is thanks to the JD(S)," Kumaraswamy said in an interview to Livemint.
He did not spare Siddaramaiah — who will now sit beside him in the government — in his criticism either. "We presumed that only Narendra Modi could do marketing but Siddaramaiah has overtaken Modi in marketing. They are marketing an empty box that has no material. They give advertisements about irrigation in newspapers but in the same paper, a news article speaks about a farmer who committed suicide," Kumaraswamy said.
JD(S)'s election manifesto for this year's Assembly elections, too, begins by slamming the Congress for its policy failures.
"The Congress, with the enthusiasm of developing an AHINDA vote bank has treated every other community of the state with utter contempt. Even directions of the Supreme Court were treated with utter disregard to put down the upward growth of other communities... Even the most pious community of Lingayats was divided by the Congress-led government. Political murders have become common in Bangalore, but the Government has not bothered about it," the opening paragraph of the manifesto says.
The Congress, too, had denied chances of going into a post-poll alliance with the JD(S) in Karnataka. "That situation to go in an alliance with the JD(S) is not going to arise, I can assure you that. I do not have any faith on exit polls whether it is in our favour or against us," Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said two days before the poll results were declared.
In December last year, Siddaramaiah warned minorities in the state against JD(S), saying the party managed to come to power in 2006 thanks to its proximity to the BJP, and will do so again in the next elections. "We will never join hands with communal forces. The state government is committed to uplift and develop the minorities and protection their interests. I have never opposed Muslims, I love them and even Christians, Sikhs, and Buddhists as much as I love Hindus, he said in an address to party workers and members of Congress Minority Morcha in Mysuru," he said.
On Sunday, responding to criticism after aligning with the Congress, Kumaraswamy told The Times of India, "I'm not at all happy with the circumstances. I had made a lot of promises to the people, and I wish I had become chief minister with a majority. But the people did not have that kind of faith in me and the party. I'm aware of the criticism, people think I am an opportunist. I've become the chief minister to prove otherwise."
As he prepares to be sworn-in on Wednesday as the state's next chief minister, he will hope that the quote will not remind people of previous interviews where he pointed out that he has "made a lot of promises to the people, I will not be able to fulfil them if I join hands with Congress or BJP".
Updated Date: May 21, 2018 09:46 AM