Bengaluru: Indicating a strain in ties with the Congress, H D Kumaraswamy has said he was “not happy” as Karnataka chief minister and was swallowing pain like Lord Shiva who drank poison, but his party JD(S) today said all is well and the coalition government will last full term.
The Congress and the JD(S) had bitterly fought against each other for the May 12 Assembly polls, but joined hands to form the government as the election threw up a hung verdict.
Reflecting a strain in the alliance, Kumaraswamy broke down at a meeting of party cadres in Bengaluru yesterday, saying it was not the time for celebration.
“You are all happy that your elder or younger brother has become the chief minister, but I am not happy,” he said at a function organised to felicitate him.
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“I am swallowing the pain like Vishakantha (Lord Shiva who drank poison to save the world),” he said.
On seeing him wiping tears, the crowd shouted, “We are with you.”
Kumaraswamy said that ahead of the Assembly polls, he had asked people to make him chief minister to bring in a pro-people government that would solve the issues of farmers, the poor and the needy, “but they did not show their trust in me”.
He said people showered him with love and affection when he travelled across the state, but forgot his party and candidates while voting.
JD(S) secretary general and party spokesperson Danish Ali, however, sought to play down Kumaraswamy’s remarks and claimed it was merely an “emotional outburst”.
“That was merely an emotional outburst and some in the media are reading too much into it,” he told.
“There are no strains between the Congress and the JD(S) and the coalition government in Karnataka is stable and will complete its five-year term under a common minimum programme for the welfare of the people of the state…,” Ali said.
Ali alleged that the opposition BJP was attempting to weaken the coalition government and bring it down but asserted the saffron will not succeed.
The BJP dismissed Kumaraswamy’s emotional comments, calling him a “legendary actor” and accusing him of “fooling the common man.”
The BJP state unit in a tweet said: “& the best acting award goes to…”
“Our country has produced talented actors. Actors who have mesmerised the audience with their brilliant performance, here we have another legendary actor Mr Kumaraswamy, an actor who has constantly fooled common man with his amazing acting skills,” it said, tagging a video clip of the chief minister getting emotional.
But the Congress joined the JD(S) in playing down Kumaraswamy’s statement.
“How can he say that… He must be definitely happy. A chief minister has to be happy always. If he is happy, we will all be happy,” Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader G Parameshwara told reporters in Bengaluru.
It has been a rocky road for the JD(S) chief since he took over as Karnataka chief minister on May 23 as the head of the coalition government, confronting wrangling among leaders over portfolio allocation and presentation of the state budget.
Presenting his government’s first budget on July 5, Kumaraswamy, who also holds the finance portfolio, unveiled a Rs 34,000-crore farm loan waiver and subsequently announced an additional crop loan waiver of Rs 10,700 crore from cooperative banks.
However, his budget came under attack from within the coalition, with a few senior Congress MLAs, including former minister H K Patil, writing to him demanding programmes for the minority community and for the northern region of the state.
Recently former chief minister Siddaramaiah, who is also the head of the Congress-JD(S) coordination committee, in a letter to Kumaraswamy, had pressed him to withdraw the decision on petrol and diesel price hike and reduce the supply of rice under the Anna Bhagya scheme, announced in the budget.
In the Assembly polls in May, the JD(S) won 37 seats in the 224-member House. While the Congress has 80 seats, the BJP 104 and the BSP one.