Can Congress-JD(S) share common space?
Bengaluru: A day after the Congress and JD (S) made a joint bid to form the government, differences surfaced in both parties with second-rung leaders and workers speaking out on how this new arrangement could dent the prospects of respective parties in electoral battles in future.
On Wednesday, the most vociferous resistance to the coming together of Congress and JD (S) came from giant killer G T Deve Gowda who expressed reservations about the new coalition in the first meeting of Janata Dal (S) legislature party.
He, however, was pacified by state unit president H D Kumaraswamy with an assurance that he would be accommodated in the new cabinet. Perhaps the trigger for Mr Deve Gowda's opposition was a clash between JD (S) and Congress workers in his constituency, Chamundeswari, on Tuesday even as their top leaders patched together a coalition in the state capital.
On Tuesday night, workers of both parties have fought at Sidduvalli and Jettyhundi. The JD(S) workers were said to be celebrating the victory of Mr Deve Gowda when some provocative remarks led to a clash with Congress workers. The situation was brought under control with the intervention of Jayapura police. Two Congress workers were reportedly injured and are admitted to KR Hospital in Mysuru.
The resistance was palpable among Congress leaders too with outgoing Speaker K B Koliwad and Congress candidate Bagur Mange Gowda (Holenarasipur constituency) speaking up against Siddaramaiah. "Both JD (S) and Congress should work together to form the government. But this man, Siddaramaiah will not let that happen. He will somehow prevent Mr Kumaraswamy from becoming CM."
Mr Koliwad, who was defeated by a nondescript candidate, R. Shankar of the Karnataka Praja Janata Party, claimed Mr Siddaramaiah had helped his rival win. "He is 15 years younger than I am. He is a bachha in front of me and has no Congress blood in him like I have," he said referring to Mr Siddaramaiah. Alleging that the Lingayat religion issue had cost the party dearly, he said it was all the outgoing CM's doing.
Meanwhile, Mr Manje Gowda , who lost to Mr H.D. Revanna of JD(S), also blamed Mr Siddaramaiah for his defeat. "If Mr Siddaramaiah had come to campaign for me, I would have won. Unfortunately, he did not. I do not know who brought pressure on him to force me to contest the elections," he said. Both leaders said it would be suicidal for Congress and JD (S) to work together as they eyed identical vote banks and would find it difficult to convince party workers to remain in the party and work to strengthen it ahead of next year's Lok Sabha elections.