The Janata Dal-Secular patriarch HD Deve Gowda on Thursday said that the Karnataka coalition was the idea of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, and it was the Congress which approached JD(S) for a post-poll arrangement after failing to secure an absolute majority in the Karnataka Assembly election in May 2018.
He also expressed doubt over the Karnataka government completing its full term of five years and said that he believes, mid-term polls will be held soon.
"Congress promised five-year support, but their behaviour hasn’t been in line with the promise. Our people are smart. They are watching their (Congress') behaviour," he said.
Reacting to views expressed by some Congress leaders that the alliance was hurting both the parties, Gowda said, "I told them we didn't want this (coalition government), but (senior Congress leaders) G Parameshwara and KH Muniyappa approached us. (Mallikarjun) Kharge told me that he had been ordered to ensure that this happens."
Gowda said that he had told Congress president Rahul Gandhi that he was hurt by the repeated public utterances of some Congress leaders about the coalition government in Karnataka. "I told him that from day one I have been watching, I'm hurt very badly. This is the first time I am telling you. You take a decision. Please request all your Karnataka leaders (not to speak in public about the government)," he said.
The JD(S) leader also said that he didn't want his son HD Kumaraswamy to become the chief minister and therefore, asked Rahul to make Mallikarjun Kharge the head of the state. However, he was told by Azad that Congress' 'top bosses' wanted Kumaraswamy to lead.
"I was the glue for the coalition in Karnataka. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi sent (Ghulam Nabi) Azad and Ashok Gehlot to Bangalore. While having a discussion, I told them the pain of the coalition I had experienced before. I told them I don't need it (coalition])," Deve Gowda was quoted as saying.
Speaking about Congress’s debacle in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the former prime minister said that it seemed that the grand old party had lost its strength. He also said that JD(S) can't be blamed for Congress' loss. "I don't know how long this (Karnataka) government will last. It is in the hands of the Congress and not Kumaraswamy, Gowda said.
The two parties managed to bag only one Lok Sabha seat each in the polls, while the BJP won 25 of the 28 seats in the state. Two Independent Assembly lawmakers were recently inducted into the Kumaraswamy-led cabinet with an apparent goal to strengthen the 13-month-old coalition.
However, the Congress-JD(S) coalition has been in the news for all the wrong reasons ever since it was formed with the chief minister himself expressing in the open his displeasure with the functioning of the government, several times. Just a months after the Assembly elections, Kumaraswamy had broken down at an event organised to felicitate him. "The chief minister's post is not a bed of roses, it's a bed of thorns," he had said while talking about the coalition.
Updated Date: Jun 21, 2019 13:44:28 IST