Bengaluru: The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S) appear to be functioning independently of each other, thus exposing the coalition’s vulnerabilities. This has been highlighted by the decisions taken without consulting the coalition partner, including the revival of the controversial steel bridge and the seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha elections.
Karnataka govt does a tightrope walk amid coordination troubles
The lack of coordination has raised eyebrows as a committee had been constituted specifically for coordination between the two parties.
The coordination and monitoring committee has met only three times since it was formed, analysts and leaders point out to highlight the de-facto independent decision-making process.
Trouble could mount for the coalition if the allies cannot get on the same page ahead of the 2019 elections that the two parties have decided to contest together.
Deputy chief minister G. Parameshwara of the Congress announced on Tuesday that the controversial steel flyover would be revived, without consulting the JD(S), which had opposed when it was mooted by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in 2016.
The same day, JD(S) leader and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda announced in New Delhi that the regional party is likely to claim 12 of the 28 seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Applying Gowda’s 2:1 formula in allocation cabinet portfolios and Lok Sabha seats would give the JD(S) nine seats, but analysts say that the 12-seat figure is for better bargaining though it does show some level of distrust between the coalition partners.
“I don’t think at any point they said they are going to work together,” said Narendar Pani, political analyst and faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies.
The issue takes centre stage even as the Congress is trying to revive itself nationally, while the JD(S) is trying to increase its tally to become a bigger player in the national stage.
This compounds the woes of the two parties which are facing internal problems that have adversely affected the already fragile coalition, about seven months since it was formed to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power in Karnataka.
The troubles within the Congress arose because of dissent after several seniors were left out of the cabinet, while the JD(S) is trying to stop its state president from resigning. Siddaramaiah and Gowda have controlled the functioning and decision making of Congress and JD(S) respectively, leaving the state presidents of both parties without much power, according to leaders of both parties.
The Congress and JD(S) are striving to quell dissent within their ranks, especially at the grass roots where the workers are still battling each other despite the state-level coalition and the alliance for the parliamentary polls.
If they are not successful, the two parties may end up hurting each other in the general elections.