Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Friday said the coalition government headed by him would complete its five-year term and any talk of mid-term polls now is “irrelevant”.
His comments came as a video of his son Nikhil asking JD(S) workers to get ready for assembly polls doing rounds on social media. “Nikhil Kumaraswamy cheering up party workers has told them that they should always be ready to serve the society. Not only during elections, they should always keep the party in a state of activeness so as to win the election whenever it comes. This statement of his has been quoted out of context by the media to represent that there may be election anytime,” H D Kumaraswamy said in a statement.
He said, “The coalition government will successfully complete its five-year term. Any talk of mid-term polls now is irrelevant.” In an indication of lack of trust between coalition partners the JD(S) and the Congress, the video purportedly showed Nikhil asking JD(S) workers to prepare themselves for assembly poll, saying one doesn’t know when it would come.
However, he also said there was no threat to the government and his father would complete the tenure. “We need to start now only. We should not say we will do it later. We have to prepare from the next month onwards. We don’t know when it (election) comes, next year, after two years or three years. JD(S) leaders should be ready,” the video showed Nikhil telling party workers.
“There is no problem to the government. It will complete (its tenure). You get tensed due to the reports in media. It is not like that. We know what is there inside (government). Nothing will happen. Kumaranna (Kumaraswamy) will run (the government) for the next four years too,” he had said.
Nikhil lost the Lok Sabha poll from Mandya to BJP-backed Independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh. His remarks to JD(S) workers had gained significance amid coalition woes and threat of instability.
Congress and JD(S) leaders are making all efforts to save the government, with even plans of cabinet expansion, fearing the BJP might revive efforts to topple it encouraged by the spectacular win in the Lok Sabha polls in which it won 25 of the 28 seats in the state. The coalition partners had won only one seat each.
Cabinet expansion put on hold
In the wake of a series of controversies that have rocked the one-year old JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka, the muchawaited state cabinet expansion has been put on hold.
Party sources in the state Congress said their legislature party leader and former CM Siddaramaiah was keen to expand his team on the eve of the monsoon session of the state legislature, which is expected to be held in the first week of July. However, furious with a spate of rows involving senior Congress leaders and JD(S) chief A H Vishwanath’s resignation, JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda is in no mood to give a ‘go-ahead’ to chief minister HD Kumaraswamy to expand his ministerial team, sources added.
Indicating what’s in store, Siddaramaiah, who has been batting for cabinet expansion till Wednesday, asked media persons on Thursday to find out about cabinet expansion from Kumaraswamy himself. “He (CM) is the person to decide on cabinet expansion. I am not the person. Please go ask him,” he said.
Party source said just a week ago plans were afoot to go for a major cabinet reshuffle after making some ministers to resign before the start of the monsoon session. The two parties looked forward to offering ministerial berths to some disgruntled senior MLAs including R Roshan Baig, R Ramalinga Reddy, Ramesh Jarkiholi, B C Patil, among others.
However, the going seems hardly smooth for Kumaraswamy since there are too many aspirants now. “Under such circumstances chances of the JD(S) and Congress leadership giving its okay to Kumaraswamy to add more ministers to his cabinet are very bleak,” said a key Congress functionary. A section in the Congress and JD(S) thinks that cabinet expansion at this juncture may well help the opposition BJP shore up the plummeting prospects of toppling the coalition government.
Meanwhile, the BJP is all set to haul up the already beleaguered Kumaraswamy government on hot coals in the JSW issue during the monsoon session besides poor handling of drought relief in the state.