Karnataka Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday denied any possibility of mid-term elections to the Karnataka assembly, PTI reported. This came three days after Janata Dal (Secular) President HD Devegowda had said that mid-term elections in the state are imminent. But he backtracked soon after.
“No, there won’t be any mid-term poll,” Siddaramaiah was quoted as saying in Mysuru by the news agency.
Siddaramaiah also criticised Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party chief BS Yeddyurappa and said the latter was “dreaming” about the collapse of the coalition government and forming a ministry in the state. “No one can respond to his [Yeddyurappa’s] dreams [of forming government and becoming the Chief Minister],” Siddaramaiah said. “He has been saying it for several times now. Whatever Yeddyurappa has said has not turned out to be true.”
In response, Yeddyurappa said he was not dreaming of becoming the chief minister as he has occupied the post in the past. “It is you [Siddaramaiah] who is dreaming about becoming chief minister once again and roaming, not me,” Yeddyurappa was quoted as saying. He also highlighted the clamour in Congress with some leaders seeking Siddaramaiah’s return as chief minister again. It had led to resentment within the ruling party of the state and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was unhappy about it.
Siddaramaiah said the Congress’ Karnataka committee was dissolved to reorganize the party. “We will have new office bearers and it will be a mix of old, new, young and seniors,” he stressed. Before that the party also suspended senior leader and Karnataka MLA Roshan Baig for alleged anti-party activities.
On Friday, Gowda had said he is uncertain about how long the coalition government with Congress would last in the state and clarified later in the day saying he was referring to the local body elections and not Assembly elections.
The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) formed a coalition in May 2018, but the relationship has been rocky since the beginning. Rumours of its imminent collapse have been doing the rounds for a while.
The Gowda family suffered a major setback in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections after Devegowda, who contested from Tumkur, and his grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the party’s candidate from Mandya, both lost the elections. Gowda criticised Congress for blaming Janata Dal (Secular) over the poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections. He had said several senior close associates of Siddaramaiah have left him.
The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) won only two seats between them in the elections, while the BJP emerged victorious in 25 out of 28 constituencies. There has been added tension with the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance with war of words between the two parties, and, defection of its leaders is always a threat. Kumaraswamy has been seen making emotional remarks about his difficulties a number of times.