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'Don't know': Kumaraswamy on future of Cong-JDS alliance

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 25, 2019 00:06 IST
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A day after the collapse of the Congress-Janata Dal-Secular government in Karnataka, the coalition leadership, including outgoing chief minister H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday remained non-committal on the future of their alliance.

IMAGE: Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy speaks during the vote of confidence in assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI Photo

Kumaraswamy also predicted that the political instability would continue in the state.

The 14-month old Congress-JDS coalition government headed by Kumaraswamy resigned on Tuesday after losing the vote of confidence in the assembly after a three-week long bitter jockeying for power.

"Let us see...I don't know. I don't know about the stand of Congress leaders for the future...we have not discussed anything yet," Kumaraswamy told reporters on the issue of the alliance ahead of a meeting with his party legislators.

JD-S supremo H D Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy, who is the JDS legislature party leader and party state unit chief, were part of the meeting with party legislators.

 

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kumaraswamy said MLAs have been advised to strengthen the party and they have also taken the responsibility to work towards it.

Not wishing to discuss on the alliance with Congress, he said, "I don't know...Congress leaders have not discussed the issue with us...they are very free and we are also very free. If the coalition works out and if they want, we will join hands with them. Otherwise we will work ourselves and strengthen our party."

Stating that his party has already petitioned the speaker for disqualification of three rebel party MLAs who resigned, Kumaraswamy, in response to a question on whether he has regrets about the coalition said, "...whatever issues we have taken, there is no regret."

Meanwhile, Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao, speaking after meeting senior party leaders, including CLP leader Siddaramaiah, also maintained that the alliance was decidedby the high command and they would have to follow what they said highcommand says on it.

The Congress and the JD-S, considered arch rivals, especiallyin old Mysuru region, had joined hands toform a coalition government after the May 2018 assembly pollsthrew up a hung verdict.

Both parties were routed in the recent Lok Sabha polls, winning just one seat each of total of 28 seats in the state, as grassroot level workers of both parties were not happy with the alliance.

Coalition worries and dissidence within had repeatedly threatened the government's stability and raised questions about its longevity.

The resignation of 15 MLAs -- 12 from the Congress and three from JD-S and independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh withdrawing their support to the coalition government, compounded matters, pushing the government to the brink.

In the trial of legislative strength after resignation of the MLAs, Kumaraswamy had garnered 99 votes against the 105 by the opposition BJP, following which he resigned.

Meanwhile, the outgoing chief minister, who organized a tea party for senior government officials of various departments, on Wednesday predicted that the political instability would continue in the state in the coming days.

Speaking to reporters, he said, "Anything may happen... no one can predict what will happen.

Looking at the developmentstaking place, more than public representatives,responsibility of officials will be important in fulfilling the needs of the people. This is what I have advised them."

He noted that even as he demits office, he was able to give a gift to the people of Karnataka by issuing a GO (Government Order) on Tuesday on the Debt Relief Act, to whichthe President had given his assent on July 16.

"Debt relief,the last GO I have issued,will help landless labourers and small farmers who have less than 2 units land (1unitis 2 hectares) and those with annual income less than Rs 1,20,000 per annum," he said.

He said those who had obtained loans from private lenders, whether pawn brokers or money lenders, could approach assistant commissioners within 90 days with documents to get the benefit.

"...They need not repay loan amount, they will be debt free. It is a one time relief. It will be applicable to all those who have obtained loans before its implementation (till Tuesday).

I'm happy that I have been able to work for the weaker sectios and poor even on the last day," he added.

Non-Banking Financial Companies are exempted and the act is not applicable on them.

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