BJP moves to form shadow cabinet; Roshan Baig drops a bomb.
Bengaluru: With Exit Polls predicting a ‘TsuNamo’ to hit Delhi on Thursday, the HD Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka has started wobbling.
Two incidents on Tuesday sent political windmills spinning. First, the BJP has made a move to form a shadow government in Karnataka in case the HDK government falls, which the saffron party is sure.
Party president Amit Shah reportedly dialled former chief minister and Lingayat leader from north Karnataka, Jagdish Shettar, and asked him to prepare a list of probably leaders who could be made ministers ‘soon’.
What surprised many was that Shah bypassed Opposition leader BS Yeddyruappa. Sources say that the CM mantle may not go to Yeddyurappa as he has crossed 75 years and BJP rules prohibit such leaders from holding any post.
Shah’s telephone call sent the BJP into hyperactive mode and the JD(S)-Congress alliance into a tizzy.
Even as the Congress leaders were meeting to counter the BJP move, the second major incident rocked the grand old party.
Senior Muslim Congress leader Roshan Baig dropped a ‘bomb’ appealing to Muslims to compromise with the situation and support the BJP. With this ‘bomb’ the Congress leaders were flabbergasted.
Apart from dropping a ‘minority bomb,’ Baig also dropped hints of quitting the party.
“Well if NDA is coming back to power, I humbly appeal to Muslim brothers to learn to compromise with the situation,” he told a section of media here.
Asked if that means Muslims should join hands with BJP, Baig said if need arises, they must as the Congress had given just one ticket to a Muslim leader in Karnataka. “If needs be, (Muslims) must join hands. We must not remain loyal to one party. What happened to Muslims in Karnataka? The Congress gave just one seat,” he said.
Asked if he will take a decision to quit Congress in coming days, Baig said “If needs be, I will do it because we (Muslims) cannot remain in a party with disgrace. We live our lives with grace and dignity. Where we will not get respect, we will not want to remain there. If someone makes us sit with love and affection, we will sit with them,” he said.
Baig was harsh in criticising KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao for conducting “flop poll campaign” and also attacked CLP leaders including Siddaramaiah for the same. “I hold Dinesh Gundu Rao for conducting a flop poll campaign. Moreover, CLP leaders who were flying high in the sky should come to terms with ground realities,” he added.
Baig said he was not surprised by exit poll numbers as from the very beginning he knew Congress would not get good numbers because of the “flop poll campaigning” of the party.
The KPCC later sent a showcause notice to Roshan Baig and asked him to reply within a week.
Baig said: “I’ve received the showcause notice sent to me by the KPCC. I’m not even going to bother to read it because it’s clearly sent by the orders of the same people whose incompetencies were highlighted by me.”
Baig’s outburst has a reason. He was sidelined by the KPCC and Siddaramaih gave more importance to Baig’s rival Zameer Khan.
As if all this was not enough in a day of high drama, senior Congress leaders have demanded that Siddarmaiah be made CM once again as HDK was only the ‘CM of the Gowda clan’ looking after the family’s political interests, not that of the State.
Ahead of elections, rebels in Congress ranks were contained so far, but they have now come out in the open.
Ironically, Kumaraswamy on Monday completed one year in office and if the exit polls prove right, his government, which has been tottering for a while, could crumble under defections and internal bickering.
Many think that the coalition will be under trouble if the exit polls match the actual result. Some see an end to the coalition in such a situation.
Adding to the coalition’s problems were BJP’s relentless efforts to dislodge the government by making some of the coalition MLAs resign.
As per the exit polls, the Congress-JD(S) coalition may win just 5-11 seats and the BJP 18-21 seats of 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka.
“The primary object of this alliance was to win more seats in the Lok Sabha elections. Now that the very object is appearing to be defeated, there is no point in continuing with the JD(S),” said a senior Congress leader.