Former Karnataka Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday sought to refute the Bharatiya Janata Party’s claim that the coalition government in the state would collapse due to an internal rift. Siddaramaiah said the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance was strong and would contest the Lok Sabha elections next summer together.
His comments came a day after BJP leader Umesh Katti claimed that at least 15 disgruntled Congress MLAs were in touch with him and would join the BJP soon. Katti had said the BJP would take over the state next week. In Assembly elections held in May, the BJP had emerged the single largest party with 104 seats in the 225-member Assembly, but Congress and the JD(S) had formed the government together.
Siddaramaiah, a member of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition coordination committee, said there was no problem between the two parties. “Nothing will happen, the government will not fall,” he told reporters in Hubli, according to PTI. “Government will complete its term; there is no problem at all.”
“They [the BJP] don’t want to sit in the opposition and work. By using some wrong means, they want to form the government,” he claimed.
Siddaramaiah stressed that the alliance will remain intact for the 2019 General Elections. “I don’t know what you are saying...[JDS wanting to go alone] is news for me...About seat-sharing, all those things have not been discussed, it will be discussed when we will sit together, which has not yet happened,” he said.
This comes at a time a group of Congress rebels headed by MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi are threatening to topple the coalition government of the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress by quitting their Assembly seats. Jarkiholi was removed from the state cabinet last week.
Siddaramaiah expressed confidence that Jarikholi will not quit the party. “He is basically a Congress man, he will stay with us,” he said. “He may be upset that he was removed from the ministry, so he has gone incommunicado, I also tried, but could not speak to him.”