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How KCR helped the Congress-JD-S mission

May 20, 2018 01:29 IST

A message from KCR on Thursday evening persuaded the Congress to take its MLAs to Hyderabad.
Archis Mohan reports.

H D Kumaraswamy with Srisri Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji of the Adichunchungiri Mutt in Bengaluru. Photograph: PTI Photo

IMAGE: Janata Dal-Secular leader H D Kumaraswamy -- Karnataka's next chief minister -- with Srisri Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji of the Adichunchungiri Mutt in Bengaluru. Photograph: PTI Photo

It was a red letter day for the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular, which saw a crucial partnership between D K Shivakumar and H D Kumaraswamy.

More so because two neighbouring chief ministers -- N Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh and K Chandrashekar Rao of Telangana -- provided moral support to the Karnataka alliance.

The Congress also made a list of its legislators who were likely to be approached by the rival side.

In order to prevent this, it asked all of them to install an app to record phone conversations.

These were eventually leaked to the media and helped the Congress build its case that the BJP was 'blatantly' trying to poach their newly-elected members.

But Rao, commonly referred to as 'KCR', and Naidu's support came in at a crucial time.

On Thursday evening, the Congress forced to drop its earlier plan to fly its newly elected legislators in chartered flights to Kochi.

Earlier, there was a plan to take its legislators to Kerala as it governed by a non-BJP party. But air traffic control in Bengaluru put a spanner on that plan.

The Congress desperately needed to take its MLAs away from Bengaluru after Shivakumar found that a former BJP minister's son was with Congress legislators at the Eagleton Resort.

The man was thrown out of the resort, but Shivakumar realised the vulnerability of keeping his flock in Bengaluru for the next fortnight.

It was only on Friday morning that the Supreme Court overruled the governor and asked B S Yeddyurappa to prove its majority by 4 pm on Saturday.

 

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, centre, with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, right. Photograph: ANI

IMAGE: Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, centre, with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, right. Photograph: ANI

It was a message from KCR on Thursday evening that persuaded the Congress leaders to take the bus route to Telangana's capital Hyderabad.

Telugu Desam Party leaders also sent messages of support.

Both KCR and Naidu had been in touch with Kumaraswamy during the election campaign, and had appealed to Telugus living in Karnataka to vote against the BJP.

According to sources in the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and TDP, KCR and Naidu are upset in the manner in which the BJP leadership treated them in the last four years. They have vowed to help Opposition parties fight the 2019 polls.

Meanwhile, Shivakumar and Kumaraswamy, both Vokkaligas, either met or called up Congress legislators who had allegedly received threats.

Shivakumar withstood raids from central agencies ever since he kept Congress MLAs from Gujarat in a resort in the run-up to the Rajya Sabha election where Congress leader Ahmed Patel was a candidate.

"His presence itself was a source of strength for the legislators," a Congress source said.

Shivakumar is likely to be the next chief of the Congress' Karnataka unit, with current state unit chief G Parameshwara, the party's Dalit face, likely to be the deputy chief minister.

The Congress leadership has also recognised the 'positive' role played by former chief minister Siddaramaiah, who rather than blocking any move to have an alliance with the JD-S, facilitated it.

He set aside the bitterness he shares with the JD-S leadership and reached out to H D Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy.

Sources said the cabinet has already been decided, but the true test for the alliance will be the three Lok Sabha by-elections in the state, and elections to the two remaining assembly seats.

There will also be a by-election for one of the two seats that Kumaraswamy has won and would vacate.

The Congress-JD-S alliance is not going to be eaasy.

The BJP will be on the lookout to unearth scams to embarrass the government in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The JD-S has been out of power for over a decade and is starved of funds, while the Congress also needs funds for its 2019 battle.

Apart from Karnataka, Punjab is the only big state that the Congress currently rules.

A Congress-JD-S alliance also means that the BJP is likely to up the ante on its Hindutva politics in Karnataka, and spread to regions where it has traditionally been weak, like southern Karnataka.

Archis Mohan
Source: