Kumaraswamy, Deve Gowda rule out lending support to BJP in Karnataka

Former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and his father and former prime minister, HD Deve Gowda, on Saturday ruled out any possibility of their Janata Dal (Secular) supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government headed by BS Yediyurappa in the state.

At a time when a section of JD(S) legislators is pushing Kumaraswamy to consider supporting theBJP government from outside, Deve Gowda said his party would play the role of a “constructive” opposition.

“As a regional party, we will oppose where we have to oppose. That’s all. If Yediyurappa does something good for the state, we will welcome it,” he told reporters. In a tweet, Kumaraswamy said, “I have seen baseless reports suggesting that we might ally with the BJP. Our party workers and MLAs shouldn’t give much credence to such rumours…”

The JD(S)-Congress coalition government was toppled on Tuesday after it lost the floor test called by Kumaraswamy following the resignations of 15 rebel MLAs. As the crisis was unfolding, there had been accusations that the BJP was fomenting the rebellion. The faction that favours backing the BJP is headed by GT Devegowda. On Friday, the day Yediyurappa took oath as chief minister, he announced after a meeting with JD(S) legislators that such a suggestion had been made, stunning several colleagues and taking the lid off a possible rift brewing within the party.

“Some have suggested that we should sit in opposition, while some legislators are of the opinion that we should support the BJP from outside,” GT Devegowda said on Friday.

On Saturday, however, another senior JD(S) leader from Hassan district, trashed the suggestion. “There is no question of an alliance with the BJP. Yes, some leaders are pushing for it but they are in a minority,” he said on condition of anonymity.

“Of course, there are some leaders who are blindly chasing power and are worried that our party might not return to power any time soon. This is pushing them to act in this manner,” he added.

Also, the JD(S) is torn on whether it should continue its alliance with the Congress. In the floor test Yediyurappa proposes to take on Monday, the coalition has little chance of defeating the BJP because the rebel MLAs are unlikely to return.

At present, there are 222 MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly after speaker KR Ramesh Kumar disqualified three rebel Congress MLAs. The BJP, with 105 MLAs, has an edge over the coalition, which garnered 99 votes in the floor test held on Tuesday.

On continuing the coalition with the Congress, HD Deve Gowda said it was too early to think about these things. The matter could be looked at in the future, he said.

A senior Congress leader, however, said the party was reconsidering the coalition. “It was a coalition to form the government. In the opposition, there is no point having a formal coalition because I am sure we will unite on some matters of policy,” the leader said, asking not to be named.

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