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Karnataka: Game gone wrong for Congress
Vicky Nanjappa in New Delhi | October 27, 2007 22:55 IST
The game may have gone wrong for the Congress in Karnataka. The party was either hoping of forming the government with the Janata Dal-Secular or pushing the state into elections.
The party was of the view that it would stand to gain during the elections as it intended portraying itself as the only party that could give stability.
The Congress had heaved a sigh of relief when Governor Rameshwar Thakur had recommended President's rule in the state.
It gave the Congress ample time to re-work its stratregy and also play the numbers game in Karnataka.
However, things did not go too well, with H D Deve Gowda, the JD-S supremo, making demands that did not go down too well with the Congress.
Within the Congress too there were disgruntled elements who swore to split the party if any kind of understanding was arrived at with the JD-S.
Siddaramaiah, the former JD-S leader was loudest when it came to an understanding with the JD-S.
Siddaramaiah had quit the JD-S to join the Congress after differences cropped up between Gowda and him.
Then, there were Congress leaders D K Shivakumar and R L Jalappa who too voiced their dissent regarding any sort of a truck with the JD-S.
The only ones who were in favour of a coalition were former chief minister N Dharam Singh and co.
He, along with his supporters, lobbied hard to make things work.
But then came the blow from Deve Gowda who insisted that Congress leader and Union Minister M V Rajashekharan be made the chief minister.
This move by Gowda was aimed at pleasing the Lingayat community who were upset after the JD-S ditched BJP leader B S Yediyurappa, a Lingayat himself.
Senior Congress leaders in Delhi even went to the extent of saying that Gowda cannot dictate terms to them.
Making Rajashekharan the CM would have proved fatal to the Congress as there would have been many more disgruntled faces in the Karnataka Congress.
When nothing seemed to work, the Congress went a step ahead and tried splitting the JD-S by wooing Prakash.
Making Prakash the CM would have worked well for the Congress. They would have been in power and also making Prakash the CM would have appeased the Lingayat community.
Prakash, who had made a trip to Delhi, was abruptly summoned in Karnataka by Gowda.
The intention of the Congress to split the JD-S was so evident that former CM Dharam Singh even went on record saying that he was hopeful that Prakash would split the party.
The Congress had hope till the last minute and had even deployed the Intelligence Bureau to check the veracity of Prakash's claim of enjoying the support of 30 legislators.
Prakash's latest statement that he did not approve of any truck with the Bharatiya Janata Party seems like d�j�-vu.
When Kumaraswamy had initially formed the government with the BJP, Prakash had stayed away from the government for a considerable amount of time before being formally indicted as the home minister in the same government, which he had disapproved of.
Meanwhile, every move by Prakash is being closely monitored by all political parties in the state.
While Prakash claims to enjoy the support of 30 JD-S MLAs, sources in JD-S say that he has just 12 loyalists within the party.