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May 21, 2019

BJP steps up heat in MP; Congress-JD(S) govt in Karnataka on edge


New Delhi, May 21: There were rumbles in Bhopal and Bengaluru on Monday, three days before results of the Lok Sabha elections, with BJP challenging Congress to prove its majority in MP and unease over predictions of a saffron sweep keeping the JD(S)-Congress alliance on the tenterhooks in Karnataka.

A day after exit polls predicted a BJP win in most of the LS seats in MP, the party said the six-month-old Congress government in the state should prove its majority, prompting chief minister Kamal Nath to hit back saying he was ready for a floor test.

The leader of opposition, Gopal Bhargava, wrote to governor Anandiben Patel on Monday asking her to convene a special session of the assembly soon after the Lok Sabha poll results would be declared on May 23 to “discuss issues of importance to the state”.

He raised concerns over law and order and “confusion” over farm loan waiver and said these issues needed to be addressed immediately.

Later, Bhargava told media, “There is total confusion in the state about the stability of the government. Bureaucracy is also confused on whether the government will last or fall.”

There were no specific developments in Bengaluru, but political circles were abuzz over whether an adverse result for JD(S) and Congress would mean fresh dissidence. Rebels in Congress ranks have been contained so far but have not reconciled to the coalition.

A day after exit polls predicted a saffron sweep in MP, leader of opposition Gopal Bhargava on Monday challenged the Congress government in the state to prove its majority.

There is speculation whether BJP will choose to play a proactive role even as Bhargava said the party was in no hurry to form the government. “I neither believe in horse trading nor do we intend to do so. But this government will collapse under its own weight,” Bhargava said.

He did, however, added that the next meeting of the assembly could be important. “If the government comes up with a good budget, then it’s okay. If they don’t, we will call for a division of votes when the budget is passed. If they have enough numbers, the government will survive. Otherwise it will fall.”

CM M Kamal Nath dismissed the threat and said, “We are always ready for floor test. They (BJP) have been doing this from the very beginning, from the first day of our government.”

State Congress media in-charge Shoba Oza said, “By doing this, BJP has proved that it is only interested in grabbing power and not real issues of people. They had better stop seeing pipe dreams and concentrate on acting like a responsible opposition for the next five years.”

In the 2018 assembly polls, Congress won 114 seats, two short of the halfway mark, and formed the government with two BSP MLAs, an SP legislator and four Independents, all Congress rebels.

In Bengaluru, chief minister H D Kumaraswamy on Monday completed one year as chief minister but the LS exit polls, if they get the trend right, could spell serious trouble for his government.

“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. Former Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah has been ill at ease with the arrangement with JD(S).

The trust deficit among coalition partners, continued efforts by Siddaramaiah to direct the government and dissidence by former Congress minister Ramesh Jarkiholi have kept Kumaraswamy on his toes and he has given vent to his unhappiness publicly. This simmering displeasure, which exploded on many occasions during cabinet expansion and on the pretext of discrimination in allocation of funds to MLAs, has taken a toll on Kumaraswamy and his government.

BJP steps up heat in MP; Congress-JD(S) govt in Karnataka on edge


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