As Siddaramaiah calls shots, Congress brass in huddle to renew coalition
New Delhi: The Congress is still trying to work out a solution to save its government in Karnataka as differences between senior party leader Siddaramaiah and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy have widened on who will lead the coalition in the southern state.
Most of the Congress rebels are Siddaramaiah loyalists, but Kumaraswamy has put his foot down against making him the Chief Minister.
Congress leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, a key negotiator, Ahmad Patel, Deepender Hooda, Motilal Vora, P. Chidambaram, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitendra Singh, Mukul Wasnik and others held a long meeting in the national capital on Monday to work out a compromise formula.
The meeting of the senior leaders lasted for over one hour. While leaving the war room office, Vora told IANS, “We are discussing the issue.”
The Congress is also thinking of naming any leader other than Siddaramaiah for chief ministership if that was acceptable to the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S). The senior party leaders had held a similar meeting on Saturday, soon after over a dozen of Congress and the JD-S MLAs resigned.
After the meeting on Saturday, senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge had flown to Benguluru to control the crisis. Besides Kharge, party General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka, K.C. Venugopal, was also rushed to Bengaluru the same day.
Monday’s meeting came at a time when all Congress and JD-S Ministers in Karnataka resigned in a bid to save the tottering government even as the BJP asked Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to quit, saying he had lost majority support in the House.
The Congress has accused the BJP of destabilising the Karnataka government, a charge the BJP has denied.
Earlier in the day, the Karnataka political crisis also echoed in the Parliament where the government denied any role in the turmoil even as Congress accused it of hatching a conspiracy.
Taking a dig at outgoing Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “The campaign of tendering resignation was started by him (Rahul Gandhi) and it had nothing to do with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”
The Minister was responding to Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury who accused the BJP of trying to destabilise the Congress-JD-S coalition in Karnataka.
Rajnath Singh also said that his party did not believe in the politics of horse-trading or inducements.
In a further setback to the Congress-JD-S combine, senior Congress leader Roshan Baig said in the evening that he would quit as an MLA and join the BJP.