Karnataka Congress MLA rebels; jittery HDK cancels Delhi trip

From the beginning of this government in Karnataka, a crisis has loomed over the Kumaraswamy administration, which has now aggravated by the exit poll results

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Bengaluru: Prior to the Lok Sabha election result slated for 23 May, the exit poll estimates have caused a major political turnaround in Karnataka. Whatever the opposition leaders may say to the media for public consumption, they tend to believe the exit polls certainly offer a true picture of the trend, if not the exact figures. The exit polls have taken the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka to the verge of collapse. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has postponed his Delhi visit even as the political equation is constantly changing.

The leaders of 22 opposition parties are going to meet with the Election Commission on Tuesday on the issue of ‘malfunctioning’ or ‘tampered’ EVM units. They included Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy who was scheduled to arrive in Delhi, but now he is not coming to Delhi. He is staying put in Bengaluru to make sure the coalition government he leads in the State does not unravel.

Many angry leaders of the ruling coalition have started rebelling, led by the Congress’s Muslim leader Roshan Baig.

Kumaraswamy is going to meet Congress general secretary and leader in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal at 5:30 PM. The State has been politically stirred since the broadcast of the exit polls.

If the extreme of Aaj Tak-Axis My India exit poll is to be believed, the BJP can get 21 to 25 out of 28 seats in Karnataka whereas the Congress and Janata Dal (S) coalition is expected to get no more than three or six seats.

As for vote share, the BJP is expected to get about 49% votes in the State whereas Congress-Janta Dal (S) coalition would get 43%.

Moments after the exit poll results were out, Karnataka Congress’s R Roshan Baig called Venugopal a “joker”. Dinesh Gundu Rao is a failed party chief in Karnataka, Baig said. He further said that if BJP got 18 or more seats in the State, it would be due to Siddaramaiah and other leaders. The Karnataka unit of the Congress is visibly imploding.

Baig questioned his own party leader Siddaramaiah, saying that the former Chief Minister himself did not want this government to last long. Siddaramaiah could not bear with the sight of Kumaraswamy occupying the Chief Minister’s chair, Beg alleged.

The BJP got 104 seats in the 225 Karnataka Assembly, Congress 78, JDS 37, BSP 1, KPJP 1 and others 2 seats in the last State election. No party got a full majority. The BJP, being the largest party in the State, BS Yeddyurappa did take the oath of office, but he could not prove he enjoyed the support of the majority of MLAs because of the Congress-JD(S) post-poll alliance.

A prime mover in the hunt for allies, the Congress seized the opportunity by offering Kumaraswamy the office of the chief minister, which created the present coalition government of the State.

From the beginning of this government in Karnataka, however, a crisis has loomed over the Kumaraswamy administration. The chief minister himself indicated so on many occasions.

Then, there have been reports of dissatisfaction of many Congress MLAs. There has also been talk of differences between Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy many times. Under such circumstances, exit polls have suggested that the BJP would win more seats than its 2014 tally, which has disturbed the constituents of the State government.

If these figures hold, the BJP, say sources, will try to form the government in Karnataka. again.

The Congress-led coalition government in Madhya Pradesh, too, enjoying a wafer-thin majority with its own 113 seats, BSP’s two, SP’s one and four independent MLAs, will be challenged by the BJP that has 109 seats out of the State’s 231 in the Assembly, as was reported by Sirf News yesterday in the morning.