BENGALURU: A day after asking his corporators to maintain a distance from the Congress, Janata Dal(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy suddenly announced his readiness to strike a deal with that party.
Kumaraswamy took the decision on Monday after a meeting with the party’s core group, including MLAs Zameer Ahmed Khan and G T Deve Gowda and senior leader Bandeppa Kashempur. They met in the evening to discuss strategies for the mayoral election likely to be held between September 7 and 9.
Earlier in the day, senior JD(S) leader H D Revanna had called on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Kumaraswamy wanted the Congress top brass to negotiate with the JD(S) leadership to seal the pact.
“No senior Congress leader had spoken to us. We are ready for talks with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president G Parameshwara,” he said.
Explaining the reasons for going with the Congress and not the BJP, Kumaraswamy said partnering with the ruling party would have its own advantages for the development of Bengaluru.
“We need to bring the BBMP out of its `9,600 crore debt. Our legislators and corporators have expressed their preference for the Congress. So, this is an unanimous decision,” he said.
Replying to a question about the BJP’s efforts to tie up with the JD(S), he said no leader from that party had contacted him.
The JD(S), though wooed both by the Congress and the BJP, is grappling with its own problems.
It fears a split as many city MLAs and newly-elected corporators are ready to align themselves with the Congress if the JD(S) leadership fails to help them get to positions of power. The deal with the Congress, if it materialises, will not only keep the legislators and corporators in good humour, but is also expected to bring in money to strengthen the party.
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Three such leaders have written to AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi, expressing their displeasure at the developments.
The letter, it is said, explains the bitter experience of the Congress when it tried to run a government in partnership with the JD(S), with Dharam Singh as chief minister. The leaders have also cautioned the high command about the adverse impact if such a tie-up is forged.
With taluk and zilla panchayat polls just a few months away, the pact could weaken the Congress in the old Mysuru region. It could also generate sympathy for the BJP, which has gained a majority in the BBMP, the letter purportedly states.
Many senior Congress leaders such as Mallikarjun Kharge, S M Krishna, and D K Shivakumar are said to be unhappy with the efforts to ally with the JD(S).
Meanwhile, Home Minister K J George and Shivakumar on Monday hit back at Kumaraswamy, who had on Sunday said that the JD(S) would not like to be identified with the Congress.
“We are not eager to associate with the JD(S). We will not go to their doorstep seeking an alliance,” George said, reacting to Kumaraswamy’s statement.
Shivakumar wouldn’t go into the details either. “Kumaraswamy is the man associated with this cinema. He is a good director and producer,” he said.