BJP MP Ananth Kumar Hegde’s communal, and personal, remarks indicate polarised coastal Karnataka is being readied for battle.
An irate Karnataka CM H.D. Kumaraswamy publicly offering to step down after making similar noises privately must be seen for what it is — a symptom of the deep malaise that characterises the eight-month JD(S)-Congress government, which Rahul Gandhi’s Congress wants to project as a sign that it could indeed do business with a smaller party, that won only 38 seats, against the Congress’ 80.
But that was May 2018, when the Congress was at its lowest ebb nationally. Its stunning reversal of fortunes in the Hindi heartland and the coming together of a third force in the form of regional satraps in a grand non-BJP, non-Congress alliance, to which the JD(S) and its top boss, former PM H.D. Deve Gowda has a greater natural affinity, is a development being factored in by Congress leaders as seat-sharing talks for Lok Sabha polls begin.
Clearly, this is more than a battle of one-upmanship between old rivals, Mr Kumaraswamy and his ambitious predecessor, Mr Siddaramaiah. The Congress rank and file is uncomfortable with ceding more seats to its junior partner JD(S). Congressmen will voice reservations, their voices only getting shriller, as the coalition partners get down to the nitty-gritty on whether it would be politic to let a party that doesn’t have an imprint beyond the Mandya-Hassan-Old Mysuru region, being given prime seats like Bengaluru North that Mr Gowda is apparently eyeing.
BJP MP Ananth Kumar Hegde’s communal, and personal, remarks indicate polarised coastal Karnataka is being readied for battle. Mr Siddaramaiah’s combative leadership of his flock signals that the Congress is doing the same. And maybe even preparing to go it alone.