The election of MK Pranesh of the BJP as deputy chairperson of the Karnataka Legislative Council on Friday (January 29), with support from the Janata Dal Secular JD(S), has again sparked speculation about an alliance between the two parties.
However, JD(S) chief HD Kumaraswamy clarified to reporters that his party was only backing the BJP for a “limited purpose”.
The ‘understanding’ in the state’s upper house can help the government pass contentious bills, including the anti-cattle slaughter bill.
The election was held after Pranesh’s predecessor, SL Dharmegowda of the JD(S), died by suspected suicide in December. He was found dead on a railway track in Chikmagaluru district. Dharmegowda was physically manhandled and pulled out of the chairperson’s seat by Congress members, after he had temporarily occupied the chair.
The BJP has been pushing for the expulsion of the current council chairperson, Prabhatchandra Shetty of the Congress, and has moved a no-confidence motion against him. If that is successful, a fresh election will be held for the post and Basavaraj Horatti of the JD(S) is tipped to replace him with the backing of the BJP.
Pranesh in his speech acknowledged that he felt a mixture of “joy and pain” considering the circumstances of the election.
“He (Dharmegowda) was a successful politician, too. He worked so successfully. I have filled the place of someone like that. I am really happy, but at the same time, there is pain that it happened in this way,” Pranesh said, reported NDTV.
“We need to forget what happened here in the Council earlier and find new paths going ahead. We should not get into a blame game for what happened.”
The council election proves again that there are no permanent enemies in politics. Just two years ago, the BJP was responsible for bringing down Kumaraswamy’s government by engineering mass defections. For his part, Kumaraswamy turned his back on the BJP and teamed up with the Congress to form the government after the results of the assembly elections in 2018.
However, the JD(S) has now joined hands with the BJP to elect a BJP MLC, as the deputy chairperson of the Karnataka Legislative Council, where neither the BJP, JDS or Congress – has a majority. The BJP currently has 31 MLCs, Congress 28 and JD(S) 13 along with four independents. One MLC seat is vacant.
This new camaraderie between BJP and Congress, largely to stump their common enemy the Congress, comes in the backdrop of chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s growing troubles with the cabinet reshuffle, farm laws and the resurfacing of old and new corruption charges.
Meanwhile, ironically, the former prime minister and JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda has expressed his solidarity on twitter to his “farmer brothers” fighting against the three farms laws and kept away from the President’s joint address in Parliament to announce the beginning of the budget session on Friday.