JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda has thrown an open warning to Congress party, that his party can go alone in Karanatak Lok Sabha elections, and fight all 28 seats. This warning can be another blow to the Congress aspirations of forming a Mahagatbandhan, to take on BJP in upcoming elections. As per reports, JDS chief Devegowda has hinted that the party may go solo in the upcoming general elections.
The disgruntlement between the two coalitions emanated from the dispute over portfolio allocation to party leaders. JD(S) has also alleged Congress encroaching on portfolios handled by its ministries and unilaterally announcing appointments to state-run boards and corporations, even in the areas that are under JDS ministers.
The discontent regarding the allocation of portfolios has also fulled rebellion in Congress’ own MLAs. Former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, the MLA from Belagavi has gone incognito after he was dropped during the rejig of portfolios. Party leaders are unable to contact Jarkiholi, who is speculated to be in contact with BJP.
Former MLC and JD(S) spokesperson Ramesh Babu asserted that the party’s local leadership is unhappy with the attitude of Congress. He cited meeting of workers with Deve Gowda in districts and complaints about Congress’ ‘Big Brother’ attitude, undertaken by the national party after victory in three assembly elections. Though the two parties had announced a pre-poll alliance for 2019 after they came together to form the government in Karnataka, reports state that there is disagreement between seat sharing.
“Workers feel that it is better to contest in all 28 parliamentary constituencies in Karnataka in the coming election,” Babu said. He also added that fight in Lok Sabha elections will be done in a friendly way, without indulging in allegations and counter-allegations. According to reports, JD(S) wanted around 12 seats for Lok Sabha out of 28, but Congress has so far not agreed.
If JD(S) part ways with Congress and fight against it, in a friendly or unfriendly manner, can deliver a big blow to aspirations of Mahagatbandhan. JD(S) is the second in line after Mayawati’s BSP, who has openly expressed unwillingness to fight along Congress. BSP has declared that it will fight Madhya Pradesh Lok Sabha elections on its own. In Uttar Pradesh too, where SP and BSP are engineering an alliance, Congress has been kept at bay with two seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi to fight. Both SP and BSP leaders have also thrown a hint of joining the Federal Front, speculated after TRS chief KCR met Navin Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee recently.
Several political watchers had predicted after Karnataka government formation that a united opposition will be the only way to prevent the BJP juggernaut. But there seems to be a battle of aspirations for the PM candidature apart from power struggles, which can be a major obstacle for Congress. Several regional party leaders with a considerable number of MPs have declared that they do not accept Rahul Gandhi as the de-facto PM candidate.
Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu has already expressed scepticism over the Federal Front. CM Naidu alleged that the Front is only to split Mahagatbandhan votes and favour. K Chandrasekhar Rao meeting and discussing the Federal Front with Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik and West Bengal Chief Minister has also irritated Congress party. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi alleged KC Rao of doing politics of division, by putting efforts to materialise the Third Front and expressed a veiled concern like Naidu that this front will only help BJP.
JD(S) and Congress forged an alliance in Karnataka, after BJP despite winning the most number of seats, fell short of the majority. There have been numerous speculations of rift and dissatisfaction in the alliance. CM HD Kumaraswamy had also declared that he cannot take any decision without the express permission of Congress high command.