Though a punching bag for the BJP and despite all his shortcomings, one thing has to be said about Rahul in all fairness – he believes in fair means to an end and, to an extent, honesty in politics. He has been preaching this when he promises to bring a change. In the case of Karnataka, he was upset that though his party lost, the lust for power forced his party-men to offer the crown to HD Kumaraswamy, a bitter enemy.
Bengaluru : While the Congress in Bengaluru and Delhi put up a show of happiness over the prospects of coming to power in Karnataka, Congress president Rahul Gandhi clearly seems to be upset. That probably explains why he was not seen in public the whole of Tuesday and Wednesday as the results poured in and as his party tried to take pole position here.
Though a punching bag for the BJP and despite all his shortcomings, one thing has to be said about Rahul Gandhi in all fairness – he believes in fair means to an end and, to an extent, honesty in politics. He has been preaching this when he promises to bring a change. In the case of Karnataka, he was upset that though his party lost, the lust for power forced his party-men to offer the crown to HD Kumaraswamy, a bitter enemy.
If sources in the Congress here are to be believed, Rahul Gandhi disagreed with his mother on the way the party was trying to come to power in Karnataka. He was of the view that the Congress had lost the mandate to govern as the party was reduced from 122 seats to just 78. But the BJP was the choice of the voters as the seat share increased from 40 to 104. But Sonia disagreed and picked up the phone to talk to Deve Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy. Rahul refused to do so.
He was of the view that the BJP must be allowed to form the government and when it fails to get a majority in the House, the Congress could come into picture. But senior party leaders told him that the BJP may poach a few MLAs and cement its strength. But he did not agree.
The Congress president also held the view that by striking a deal with the JD(S) which came third in the race with just 38 seats and with no pan-Karnataka presence, the Congress will be seen as a weakling in politics ready to accept crumbs to come to power. This will hit the prospects of the party in 2019 when an anti-BJP coalition is likely to be formed. With the bad example from Karnataka, Rahul will be in no position to dictate terms, let alone try to become the PM candidate.
The Congress president is also upset at the way the Lingayat card was played by Siddaramaiah. He was advised by senior leaders like Veerappa Moily not to play the Lingayat card. But Siddaramaiah and his colleagues did just the opposite.
Now, to matters worse, a Lingayat (Yeddyurappa) has been denied the reins of power once more and the chair has been offered to the community’s rival – a Vokaliga (Kumaraswamy). And the pictures of Siddaramaiah, who boasted that he would wipe out Deve Gowda and his son, haplessly trying to strike a deal with Kumaraswamy has hurt the pride of the Congress in Karnataka and Delhi.
Little wonder that in Wednesdays Congress meet, senior party leaders openly criticised Siddaramaiah for playing the religion card and taking the party on a disastrous road. All through the meeting, Siddaramaiah remained glum-faced and looked both upset and angry.
The veteran TDP founder, the late NT Rama Rao, had always called the Congress as a party with no ‘atma gouravam’ or self-pride. This has come true in Karnataka when Siddaramaiah was made to swallow his pride and meekly offer the crown to Kumaraswamy.
The Congress chief is also aware that the JD(S) cannot be trusted as Kumaraswamy had earlier betrayed Yeddyurappa with whom he had a written agreement to share power.