‘Congress has struck a deal with JDS’

The Congress is even pre­pared to change the Chief Min­is­ter if the JDS was adamant on it, a source said.

The Sunday Guardian - - Nation -

The Congress has al­most fi­nalised a post-poll un­der­stand­ing with the JDS in Kar­nataka, where it fears coast­ing to power alone will be dif­fi­cult, claimed re­li­able Delhi-based sources in the party. As per the sources, an “un­der­stand­ing” is al­most on the cards, de­spite the Congress pub­licly dis­play­ing con­fi­dence of se­cur­ing a sim­ple ma­jor­ity on its own and dis­miss­ing H.D. Deve Gowda’s party as the BJP’s “Team B”.

An­other source in the Congress told this news­pa­per that the party was pre­pared to make any kind of con­ces­sions to re­tain the state, in­clud­ing chang­ing the Chief Min­is­ter if the JDS was adamant on it.

“The JDS and the Congress al­liance is al­most cer­tain. As per our anal­y­sis, we may nar­rowly miss the ma­jor­ity mark, but our talks with the JDS have been fruit­ful. The BJP will not be able to re­turn to power,” said the source.

“JDS will not go with BJP, that is cer­tain. But from our side, we are also pre­pared for the worst sit­u­a­tion. If the JDS in­deed emerges as the king­maker and de­mands a change in the CM face, we will pre­fer to pla­cate it rather than lose the state,” the source quoted told this re­porter.

Chief Min­is­ter Sid­dara­ma­iah, once in the JDS and con­sid­ered Gowda’s pro­tege, fell out with Gowda af­ter the lat­ter started pro­mot­ing his son H.D. Ku­maraswamy as his heir ap­par­ent. Sid­dara­ma­iah was ex­pelled from the JDS in 2005.

The BJP, which ap­peared soft on the JDS only some time ago, has sud­denly launched a sharp at­tack on its for­mer ally.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, while ad­dress­ing a rally in Tu­makuru on 5 May, had said that “If any­one is pro­tect­ing the Congress, it is the JDS... Congress and JDS have a se­cret un­der­stand­ing... an un­der­stand­ing be­hind the cur­tains”. This was in con­trast to his ear­lier over­ture to the party on 1 May, when he had told a crowd in Udupi that he had “re­spect” for H.D. Deve Gowda, and had de­scribed the for­mer Kar­nataka Chief Min­is­ter as a “veteran”.

A source in the Congress said, “His (PM Modi) change of tone is un­der­stand­able. They were also try­ing to get the JDS on their side, but the lat­ter has de­cided to sup­port us.”

Pub­licly, how­ever, the Congress is main­tain­ing it will be in a com­fort­able po­si­tion to form the gov­ern­ment on its own. “This sit­u­a­tion does not arise at all. I am very con­fi­dent that we will form the gov­ern­ment on our own with a clear ma- jor­ity,” Chief Min­is­ter Si­daram­ma­iah had told the me­dia on 24 April, when asked to clear the air on a pos­si­ble post- poll tie-up with the JDS.

Most sur­veys have pre­dicted a hung As­sem­bly in Kar­nataka, while giv­ing an edge to in­cum­bent Congress. As per the sur­veys, Congress might se­cure 90 to 101 seats, with the most con­ser­va­tive fig­ure putting it at 85 seats in the 224 mem­ber As­sem­bly. JDS is pro­jected to win 30 to 40 seats, while the BJP any­where be­tween 78 to 95 seats.

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