India

No doubt there will be mid-term polls in Karnataka: Deve Gowda

No doubt there will be mid-term polls in Karnataka: Deve Gowda

Recent remarks by Janata Dal (Secular) president H D Deve Gowda, a visit by state Congress leader Siddaramaiah to meet party chief Rahul Gandhi, and moves by the alliance partners in Karnataka to revamp their state units suggest a premature end to the year-old Congress-JD(S) coalition and possible state elections by the year-end.

Since the big loss in Lok Sabha polls — the Congress-JD(S) alliance won one seat each out of 28 in Karnataka — JD(S) leaders, including Deve Gowda, have stated during internal meetings that the party should be prepared for early Assembly polls.

On Friday, on the sidelines of a meeting of JD(S) workers and candidates, the former Prime Minister said he has no doubts that there will be mid-term polls in the state. The remarks came following reports that former CM Siddaramaiah, during a meeting with Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Wednesday, had suggested calling time on the coalition since it is hurting the party.

Explained

What indications indicate

The indication of mid-term polls in Karnataka by H D Deve Gowda shows that the Congress-JD(S) alliance has lost hopes of surviving in the wake of their big Lok Sabha poll defeat. The allies are expected to stick together until December in an effort to gather some political currency, as both parties fear a Lok Sabha-type decimation if polls are held too soon. The indication of mid-term polls may also be a bait for BJP to make a move to capture power by winning over MLAs opposed to early polls.

“I do not know how long this government will remain. It is in the hands of Congress leaders, and not (Chief Minister) Kumaraswamy,’’ Gowda said on Friday. “There is no doubt there will be mid-term polls.”

He emphasised that the Congress had promised to support the JD(S) for five years. A few weeks ago his grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy had told party workers to be prepared to face Assembly polls by end of the year. A week ago, in a meeting with state JD(S) president H Vishwanath, Deve Gowda had reportedly issued directions to prepare the party for elections by December.

Gowda and JD(S) officials have frequently claimed that the reference to “preparations for elections’’ for the party pertains to local body polls in Karnataka, and not the Assembly polls. On Friday, Siddaramaiah denied seeking termination of the alliance during his meeting with Rahul Gandhi. “I cannot reply to rumours,’’ he said.

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said, “If they have the capability let them run the government, otherwise let them step aside. We will run the government. People do want another election now.”