New Delhi: Barely days to go before the Karnataka verdict is out, hectic parleys are on among the Janata Dal (Secular) –BSP combine and the Congress over averting a BJP government in case of a hung Assembly. Top sources said that BSP chief Mayawati was pitching for Congress’ Dalit face M. Mallikarjun Kharge as the Chief Minister in case incumbent Siddaramaiah fails to deliver a majority for the Grand Old Party.
Mr Siddaramaiah, who left the JD(S) to join Congress in 2005, belongs to the OBC Kuruba community and is credited with having stitched together the powerful AHINDA (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) combination.
The Karnataka chief minister fell out with JD(S) chief and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda after he left the JD(S) to join the Congress and Mr Gowda has since then held a personal grudge against him. Sources said the former Prime Minister was in no mood to support any government headed by him.
In such a scenario, Ms Mayawati has indicated to the Congress leadership that she would favour a Dalit as the Chief Minister and Gulbarga MP and the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mr Kharge was the best choice as he was perceived to be close to Mr Deve Gowda also.
The BSP has come up with this suggestion as "this could be the only way out to prevent JD(S) from joining hands with the BJP in the event of a hung assembly," the sources told this newspaper.
Both Congress and the JD(S), however, remained non-committal in the matter and Congress leaders insisted that it would get a majority and form the government on its own..
On the campaign trail. Congress leaders, including Party President Rahul Gandhi have repeatedly attacked Mr Deve Gowda’s son Mr H D Kumaraswamy calling him the “B-Team” of the BJP.
JD(S), General Secretary, Danish Ali told this newspaper: “Instead of fighting the BJP, Congress is trying to destroy regional secular forces. If Congress is going to destroy regional forces, it will only strengthen BJP. That's why BJP is growing. If they are doing it again, then Karnataka is also going to BJP's hands. In the interest of secular people, a regional secular force like JD(S) must exist strongly”.
He further said: “No one can challenge the secular credentials of H D Deve Gowda. He does not need a certificate from the Congress. Mr Gowda as PM despite being in coalition dismissed BJP government in Gujarat and handed over the state to Congress”.