Bypoll: Will Congress be able to do a ‘Maharashtra’ in Karnataka?

Deccan Chronicle.  | vinay madhav

Nation, Politics

Congress leaders like H K Patil, Mallikarjun Kharge, Veerappa Moily and K H Muniyappa are now talking of toppling the BJP government.

Mallikarjun Kharge

Bengaluru: As Karnataka holds byelections on Thursday to 15 assembly constituencies, the tables have somewhat turned in the state’s politics. While in July, the Kumaraswamy government collapsed as 17 Congress and JD(S) legislators resigned to bring it down, four months later it is the Yediyurappa government which is on tenterhooks as it awaits the outcome of the  bypolls to the assembly seats that fell vacant following their resignations.

The BJP, which seemed to take its survival for granted not too long ago, is not so sure anymore after its loss in neighbouring Maharashtra, where it could not form a government despite its best efforts. Its national leadership has given up its casual approach to Karnataka and is trying hard to save the government, especially with the Congress talking of reviving its alliance with the JD(S) post the bypolls should the results not go in favour of the saffron party.

Aware that it could play the role of kingmaker again post December 10 when the results will be announced, the JD(S) has kept its  options open , keeping both the Congress and the BJP guessing about its intentions.

Although 17 legislators, 14 from the Congress and three from the JD(S),  resigned in July, byelections are being held only to 15 constituencies as the 2018  results of two other constituencies are in dispute before the courts. The ruling BJP, which has 105 MLAs, needs to win at least seven seats in the bypolls to get past the half- way mark in the 222- member Legislative Assembly and survive on its own steam in government for the rest of its three- and- a- half year tenure.

But due to the presence of independent member from Mulabagal, Nagesh in the cabinet and the lone BSP member, who has identified  with it,  the BJP government could sail through even if  it bags a mere five more seats in the Assembly.

The Congress, which received a short in the arm following the Maharashtra developments that have put it in the driving seat there along with the Shiva Sena and Nationalist Congress party, has suddenly come alive in Karnataka with many of its leaders now hopeful of outwitting the BJP in the state too.

Congress leaders like H K Patil, Mallikarjun Kharge, Veerappa Moily and  K H Muniyappa are now talking of  toppling the BJP government with the help the JD(S). In the process , former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah finds his supremacy in the party challenged as he is not on best of terms with JD(S) leader, H D Deve Gowda.