Monday, Aug 15, 2022

Days After Govt's Fall In Karnataka, Congress-JD(S) Non-Committal On Future Of Alliance

Outgoing Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said the political instability will continue in the state, adding he still didn't know if the two parties would stay together.

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and his deputy G Parameshwara meet Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar after losing the vote of confidence in Assembly Session at Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru. (PTI)

A day after the Congress-JD(S) government lost the trust vote in the Karnataka assembly, the leadership from both parties remained non-committal on the future of the alliance in the state.

Outgoing Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said the political instability will continue in the state, adding he still didn't know if the two parties would stay together.

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.

JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy, who is the JDS legislature party leader and party state unit chief, were part of a meeting held on Wednesday 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 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 had 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 decided by the high command and they would have to follow what they said high command says on it.

Congress and JD(S), considered arch-rivals, especially in old Mysuru region, had joined hands to form a coalition government after the May 2018 assembly polls threw up a hung verdict.

Both parties were routed in the recent Lok Sabha polls, winning just one seat each of the total 28 seats in the state, as grassroots 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 the 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, 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 developments taking place, more than public representatives, the 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 which the 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 1,20,000per annum," he said.

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

"...They need not repay the 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 sections and poor even on the last day," he added.

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

(With inputs from PTI)