Maharashtra drama: A sense of déjà vu for State

H.D. Kumaraswamy and B.S. Yediyurappa after swearing in as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister in February 2006.

H.D. Kumaraswamy and B.S. Yediyurappa after swearing in as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister in February 2006.  


A similar situation prevailed here in 2006 when Kumaraswamy joined hands with BJP and his father was against it

The month-long political impasse in Maharashtra and the dramatic announcement of Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister is reminiscent of the political situation in Karnataka 13 years ago when the Janata Dal (Secular) struck an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Though there have been several twists and turns in the political alliances in Karnataka since then, currently the JD(S) is seen as again softening towards the BJP.

13 years ago

In 2006, the situation was somewhat similar to what it is in Maharashtra today, when H.D. Kumaraswamy joined hands with the BJP and his father H.D. Deve Gowda said he was against it and even unaware of the alliance. In February 2006, the Congress-JD(S) government led by N. Dharam Singh collapsed and overnight a “breakaway” faction of the JD(S) led by Mr. Kumaraswamy formed a government with the BJP.

The political coup staged by Mr. Kumaraswamy had sent shockwaves. An apparently devastated Mr. Deve Gowda had gone into a huddle with close aides and said that his son had “betrayed” him by splitting the party and going with the “communal” party.

Almost mirroring this, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said his party would continue to back the Shiv Sena in an alliance to form the government and held a press conference with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. However, it is speculated that the alliance would not have come through without the blessings of the elder Mr. Pawar.

In Karnataka in 2006, Mr. Gowda had termed the day of formation of the JD(S)-BJP government as the “the saddest day” in his life. He said that his writ was ignored by his son and a group of MLAs who walked out of an alliance with the Congress to join hands with the BJP, breaking the defining secular principle of the party.

However, Mr. Gowda later claimed that the Congress had set in motion a plan to buy over his party MLAs and that this had led to his son sharing power with the BJP. After a few months of silence, Mr. Gowda even wrote letters appreciating his son’s style of functioning as the Chief Minister.

Changing dynamics

This coalition formation in the State dramatically changed the political landscape. Siddaramaiah, who was then with the JD(S) and was the Deputy Chief Minister, walked out of the party for denying him the Chief Minister’s post and eventually joined the Congress.

When the time came for a change in leadership after the 20-month tenure of Mr. Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister, he refused to yield, leading to the collapse of the coalition. The BJP called Mr. Kumaraswamy, who refused to transfer power to B.S. Yediyurappa, as “Vachana Bhrasta” and made it the poll plank in 2008. They went on to win the polls.

Mr. Kumaraswamy later called this alliance with the BJP his “big regret” and said that it was the only time he had defied his father.

However, there is speculation now that the JD(S) is again warming up to the BJP, ahead of the December 5 bypolls. Mr. Kumaraswamy has said that he would not allow the incumbent government to collapse and “impose” elections again on people, while Congress has been predicting midterm polls.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 11:36:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/maharashtra-drama-a-sense-of-dj-vu-for-state/article30063390.ece

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