Bengaluru: With barely five days to go before December 5 bypolls, a section within the Congress plans to refashion its election strategy to ensure the party drop its antipathy to forging a new alliance with the JD(S), and work to dislodge Congress leader Siddaramaiah from his perch, while pushing for the rise of Vokkaliga leader D.K.Shivakumar, who is trusted by both the leadership of the Dal (S) and the Congress .
Inspired by the Congress somersault in neighbouring Maharashtra on forming a government with arch-enemy, the Shiv Sena, a few Congress leaders in the state have been working behind the scenes to attempt a revival of the party's partnership with the JD(S) if the BJP fails to get the required number of seats to muster a simple majority after the December 5 byelections.
The Yediyurappa government can get a simple majority in the lower House with its 224 seats if it wins from at least eight of the 15 assembly constituencies going to the polls. Party sources have indicated the BJP will comfortably win the eight seats it needs and could even win 10 of the 15, which are not dominated by the Vokkaligas, who are more partial to its rival parties.
However, the rising antipathy to some of the rebels who switched allegiance have raised Congress hopes of limiting Siddaramaiah's glory run. Quietly leading the charge for the Congress hopefuls, confident of reviving the party's relations with the JD(S) and installing a Congress-led coalition government in the state, is former minister D.K. Shivakumar, who had announced in Chikkaballapur on Thursday that the BJP government would fall post bypolls. Significantly, a day before, JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda had remarked that, “Anything can happen, it all depends on Sonia Gandhi.” It's no secret that Mr Shivakumar enjoys a good rapport with the Gowda family and should he persuade the Congress high command to swing the pendulum his way, it could be his ticket to becoming CM, say sources.
Moreover, they point out that Mr Gowda is desperate to destroy Siddaramaiah politically, and would be open to backing Mr Shivakumar for the top job, more so as he is a Vokkaliga. But if Mr Shivakumar decides to step aside to allow a senior leader like Mallikarjun Kharge to occupy the CM’s position - which is also a possibility - the dynamics may change, they add. But for Mr Siddaramaiah, this game plan, could amount to a kiss of death politically speaking. Having virtually beaten back every other leader who could be a potential threat to him, he is unlikely to want to see the rise of a Vokkaliga in the party, according to sources. The possible entry of Mr Kharge into the picture could also put his career at stake.
Former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy too may not like to see another Vokkaliga to emerge as a parallel power centre in the community and may back the revival of the coalition only if another leader from the Congress is made CM, and his brother Revanna comes in as a possible DyCM, claim party insiders....