Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda alleged that Congress leader Siddaramaiah was responsible for the collapse of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka. The Janata Dal (Secular) leader made the comments in an interview published by The Hindu on Wednesday.

The 14-month-old coalition lost the trust vote in the state Assembly on July 23, following which the Bharatiya Janata Party formed the government with BS Yediyurappa as the chief minister. The coalition had come to power in May 2018 after Karnataka ended up with a fractured mandate. In the trust vote, the alliance received support from 99 MLAs while 105 legislators voted against it.

Gowda claimed that Siddaramaiah, who was the chief minister till 2018, could not reconcile with the Congress’s decision to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party out of power.

“The fight was between him and HD Kumaraswamy, and it became difficult for him to see Kumaraswamy as the chief minister,” Gowda alleged. “He was hurt and angry. His resolve to destroy JD(S) became stronger after his defeat in Mysuru.” Gowda was referring to Siddaramaiah’s 2018 loss to the Janata Dal (Secular) in Chamundeshwari in Mysuru district, which was considered the Congress leader’s bastion.

“Siddaramaiah was not consulted by either Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi before they decided on the coalition,” Gowda added, when asked if he held the former chief minister solely responsible for the government’s collapse. “His own followers [Congress rebels] have on record stated that he was responsible for my defeat as well as my grandson’s defeat in Lok Sabha polls.”

HD Deve Gowda lost the election from Tumkur while his grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy lost from Mandya. However, Gowda’s other grandson Prajwal Revanna won from party bastion Hassan.

“Have they given notice to those in the Congress who worked against us?” asked the former prime minister. “At present, there is nobody who can contest or fight against Siddaramaiah within the Congress.”

Siddaramaiah wanted to make Yediyurappa the chief minister and take the position of leader of Opposition, Gowda alleged, adding that the two had worked together in the past. “Who fought Yediyurappa’s government? The real fighter was Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah showed only tokenism,” the JD(S) leader claimed.

The former prime minister said at present there was no communication between his party and the Congress. “What Siddaramaiah says is that they have lost the polls having gone with Deve Gowda [laughs],” Gowda told The Hindu, adding that local leaders were not ready to talk. “Siddaramaiah wants to show his strength. However, if [interim Congress chief] Sonia Gandhi speaks on seat-sharing in bye-polls, then it will be a different thing.”

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