Kumaraswamy Dials Mamata Banerjee, Brainstorms Strategy For Karnataka

Mamata Banerjee wished HD Kumaraswamy luck on the efforts to form government in Karnataka with Congress.

Kolkata:  HD Kumaraswamy, the Congress’s new ally in Karnataka, today touched base with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who reached out to his father, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda yesterday. Ms Banerjee had congratulated Mr Deve Gowda on his Janata Dal Secular’s performance in the assembly elections. The senior opposition leader, who has been trying to stitch together an anti-BJP front, had also expressed hope that he would be able to form the government in the state together with the Congress.

The conversation between the two leaders today was more of strategy session, sources said. Ms Banerjee advised Mr Kumaraswamy to keep up the pressure on the BJP — to which end, the Congress and the JD(S) already have some plans.

The Congress has decided to approach the Supreme Court in case the Governor decides to invite the BJP — which emerged as the largest single party in this election — to form government. There is also a plan B – approaching President Ram Nath Kovind for redressal.

Sometime after the conversation with Ms Banerjee, Mr Kumaraswamy’s JD(S) also announced plans to hold a sit-down strike outside the Governor’s residence in case of a decision in the BJP’s favour.

During the counting of Karnataka votes yesterday, as the BJP leads shot up, Ms Banerjee had tweeted her displeasure about the lack of a pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the JD(S). The alliance materialized three hours later. And after the two parties met the Governor to stake claim to form government in the state, she had dialled Mr Deve Gowda.

Later in the evening, Ms Banerjee had advocated the need for a fresh equation between the Centre and states, one that involves respect towards states and an understanding of their requirements. The same, she said should be reflected in the relation between the two big national parties — the Congress and BJP – and the smaller regional parties.  

The Congress yesterday had offered to allow JD(S) to play the big brother in Karnataka, offering them unconditional support. To drive the message home, Ms Banerjee said, “regional fronts and regional partners have a very important role to play. I feel both parties — Congress and BJP —  must remember that and not treat them casually.”

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