Kumaraswamy remains vague on future of coalition with Congress, says priority is to develop JD(S)
The outgoing chief minister of Karnataka said the two parties had not yet discussed it.
Outgoing Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday remained vague about the future of the coalition between the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress after it lost its majority, PTI reported. Kumaraswamy said the two parties had not yet discussed it.
The 14-month-old coalition lost a trust vote conducted in the Karnataka Assembly on Tuesday after 99 MLAs voted in favour of it and 105 legislators against it. Soon after, Kumaraswamy met Governor Vajubhai Vala to submit his resignation. Vala accepted it and asked Kumaraswamy to continue as the caretaker chief minister for now.
“Today we have called our MLAs to work out future strategies,” Kumaraswamy told reporters in Bengaluru ahead of a meeting at the Janata Dal (Secular) office. “Our top priority is to develop our party, to get the confidence of the people of Karnataka and how to move ahead at this juncture.”
When asked specifically about the coalition, he said: “Let us see...I don’t know. I don’t know about the stand of Congress leaders for the future...We have not discussed anything yet.”
“They’re free, we’re also free,” he added, according to ANI. “If coalition works out, if they want, we will join hands with them, otherwise we will work by ourselves and strengthen our party on our own.”
Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda said there were no differences of opinion between the two parties. “We are not accusing anyone, including the former chief minister [Congress’ Siddaramaiah] and other senior ministers,” he said.
Deve Gowda claimed that he had never seen such things happen in Karnataka in the past. “The way in which things have happened in Karnataka, I have never seen in my political career,” he told ANI. “The way in which a national party, BJP leadership, allowed this type of horse trading, I have never seen in my life.”
Karnataka ended up with a fractured mandate after Assembly elections in May 2018. The BJP was the largest party with 105 seats, but it was eight short of the majority mark of 113. The party still went ahead to stake claim, hoping to get JD(S) MLAs on board before a floor test. Yeddyurappa took oath as chief minister, only to resign two days later before a floor test could take place.
The Congress and the JD(S), which were able to cross the majority mark together, formed a post-poll alliance to form the government, with Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) as chief minister. The ruling coalition had a difficult run for 14 months until a mass resignation of its MLAs this month sealed its fate. After losing the trust vote, the Congress accused the BJP of carrying out “one of the most heinous” instances of horse-trading in the country to make this happen.