All quiet on Karnataka front, all eyes on centre


Bangalore : Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and Congress political leaders in Karnataka spent a quiet day Tuesday expecting central government’s approval to the governor’s recommendation to place the state under the president’s rule after the collapse of the coalition ministry.

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Senior leaders of the third major party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were away in districts addressing rallies to expose the ‘betrayal’ by H.D. Kumaraswamy and his party JD-S as he last week refused to hand over the chief ministership to it as agreed 20 months back.

“We are taking a break from the week-long activity at feverish pitch,” a senior Congress leader chuckled when asked whether the party had begun preparations for the polls to the state assembly.

“Only after the centre takes a decision on the governor’s recommendation, political activity will pick up momentum,” he told IANS.

Governor Rameshwar Thakur late Monday recommended to the president bringing the state under direct central rule and dissolving the assembly, which still had 20 months left.

The office staff at the Bangalore offices of the three main parties spent most of their time answering phone calls from the media on whether any meetings were scheduled.

Kumaraswamy did not visit Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat. “He is out of town,” his home office said but declined to reveal where he went. He would be back by evening.

It was quiet at the posh Padmanabha Nagar residence of Kumaraswamy’s father and JD-S president H.D. Deve Gowda.

The Former prime minister tried to broker a deal with the BJP on Oct 4 to ensure his son continued as chief minister. But BJP president Rajnath Singh said a firm no and the tenuous coalition formally ended Sunday with the BJP withdrawing support to Kumaraswamy.

The chief minister’s resignation late Monday evening was preceded and followed by high drama.

Around 2 p.m., about two hours after the governor asked Kumaraswamy to quit as he had lost the majority in the house, word went around that JD-S leaders had begun secret parleys with the BJP on power transfer.

By evening, there were reports that Kumaraswamy will submit to the governor, along with resignation letter, a written communication on JD-S supporting a BJP-led ministry.

In between BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yediyurappa cut short his programme in Tumkur, about 90-minute’s drive from here, and rushed back.

Meanwhile, N. Cheluvaraya Swamy, transport minister in the Kumaraswamy ministry, reportedly met Yediyurappa in secret and offered a compromise – let Kumaraswamy continue as chief minister for three months, after which the BJP can take over.

This led to speculation whether the BJP central leadership would accept the offer after being taken for a ride by JD-S.

Some reports spoke of a ‘green signal’ from the BJP and RSS and others that the JD-S offer was rebuffed without a second thought.

Kumaraswamy made a horde of mediapersons wait for several hours as the meeting with his party legislators dragged on.

It was a downcast Kumarswamy who faced the media five hours after the last-minute attempt at realign with the BJP.

Till well past midnight there was no official word from Raj Bhavan on the governor sending his report on the situation and on dissolving the state assembly and imposing the president’s rule.

When imposed, it will be for the fifth time Karnataka will come under a spell of the president’s rule, after 17 years.