Trouble ahead for Congress-JDS coalition as Deve Gowda hints at mid-term polls in Karnataka, then issues clarification


Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda has hinted that the coalition between his party, the Janata Dal Secular, and the Congress in Karnataka was unworkable leading to imminent mid-term polls.

HD Deve Gowda

Speaking to reporters at his house on the occasion of International Yoga Day, the JDS leader said that he had never asked for his son HD Kumaraswamy to be made the chief minister. He said that he had asked the Congress to make Mallikarjun Kharge the chief minister.

“There is no doubt that there will be mid-term polls. They (Congress) said they will support us for five years but look at their behavior now. Our people are smart,” the JDS supremo was quoted by NDTV.

Deve Gowda referred to several media reports in the state that quoted former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as having advised Congress President Rahul Gandhi to end its coalition with the JDS else Congress face an existential crisis in the key southern Indian state. “People in that party [Congress] feel that their party will be finished if they continue in alliance with us. They say the sooner this coalition is ended the better,” Hindustan Times quoted Deve Gowda as saying.

Siddaramaiah, who was a protege of HD Deve Gowda before he snapped ties with him to join the Congress, has denied these media reports.

86-year-old Deve Gowda added, “People are carefully watching everything. I did not ask them for a coalition government. I did not ask for the chief ministerial post to my son Kumaraswamy. They (Congress) themselves called me and asked me to form the government. I will continue my work. I do not want to blame anyone.”

Moments later, the former prime minister performed a U-turn saying that his comments about the mid-term polls were about local body elections. “I was speaking about local body elections, not assembly polls,” he added.