All eyes on AICC to save the coalition in Karnataka

The apparent backroom drama in the ruling coalition — which has come to the fore with former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s recent expression of desire to be CM again — has rekindled speculation on efforts from within to “destabilise” the government. While many Congress leaders admit to these rumblings, they argue that the party’s central leadership, keen to showcase the anti-BJP alliance in Karnataka as a model ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, will do everything not to allow the situation to escalate, at least in the near future.

What set off the trail of events was former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s statement on Saturday that he was ready to be CM again if blessed by the people. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said the following day that he was aware of efforts to destabilise the government, but it would not work. Though Mr. Siddaramaiah claimed later that he was quoted out of context, speculation has not died.

Sources in the Congress told The Hindu that the party’s Central leadership was keeping a close watch on these developments. “This is to ensure the coalition is not weakened, as any such indications would have a larger impact on national politics,” a leader said.

A senior JD(S) leader said All-India Congress Committee leaders, especially Ghulam Nabi Azad, has been updated about attempts by “a few disgruntled and discontented leaders” in widening the gap between the coalition partners. “AICC leaders are in touch with State JD(S) leaders, including Kumaraswamy, and have assured us of stability in the government,” he said.

BJP in touch

However, there is more trouble anticipated after results of the urban local body poll results are out and the issue of Cabinet expansion crops up. The leaders claim that the BJP, sensing an opportunity in these troubled waters, is in touch with some MLAs from the ruling parties. “Though the BJP is learnt to be attempting to poach two or three JD (S) MLAs, there are no black sheep in our party. Possible discontentment in the Congress will be taken care of by the State and national leaders,” the JD(S) source said.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief Dinesh Gundu Rao, who admitted that there are rumblings within the party, said the discontentment is not something that could prove detrimental to the coalition. “We are aware that the BJP is making attempts to destabilise the government. But, it is also true that the BJP cannot succeed in its attempts as it will not get the required 15-16 numbers,” he said.

He dismissed Mr. Siddaramaiah’s statement as an “off the cuff” remark and said: “The AICC will do all that is required to keep the coalition intact.”

JD(S) State president Adaguru Vishwanath said the party’s national president H.D. Deve Gowda was “in touch with the AICC leaders and would discuss these issues at an appropriate time”.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 12:25:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/all-eyes-on-aicc-to-save-the-coalition-in-karnataka/article24795558.ece

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