Kumaraswamy to take oath as Karnataka CM: Why anti-BJP leaders are expected as audience

Defeating BJP has become quite a rare occurrence in the realm of elections in India. Little wonder then that regional party leaders opposed to the Centre are likely to register presence at HD Kumaraswamy's big day.

Kumaraswamy to take oath as Karnataka CM: Why anti-BJP leaders are expected as audience

Bengaluru is prepping up for what promises to be a swearing-in ceremony like no other. Even as HD Kumaraswamy of JDS takes oath as Karnataka CM on Wednesday, the spotlight is likely to keep oscillating from one leader to another. After all, several regional leaders are expected to be present in what may well be a statement of intent directed towards the NDA government at the centre.

After a week of tussle for power between BJP and the JDS-Congress combine, the political thriller in Karnataka culminated with BS Yeddyurappa tendering his resignation due to lack of majority and HD Kumaraswamy emerging as the kingmaker who snatched the throne. His 'coronation' - otherwise known as swearing-in ceremony in democracy - will be attended by several key political figures who form the axis of power attempting to down BJP.

The date is set and the invites sent. 

 

 

So, here are some of the key political figures likely to attend Wednesday's ceremony:

Rahul and Sonia Gandhi (Congress): Since chances to form governments - even as a second in an alliance - have come far and few for Congress in recent times, the swearing-in of Karnataka's new government is nothing short of an occasion fo giddy euphoria. The party was in power for five years here - a minor detail. The party is the junior member of the new coalition government - another minor detail. What matters - at least in the Congress camp - is that party president Rahul Gandhi rallied long and hard before the elections and the party has managed to strike gold by aligning with JDS - the third largest party after elections 2018.

Rahul has already congratulated his MLAs and that of JDS for staying united in the face of what he claimed was BJP's rampant luring with money.  He had also said starting with Karnataka, Congress won't lose a single election. Now, it is time to rejoice.

 

 

 

 

Former party president Sonia Gandhi too had campaigned for Congress close to polling date and may join her son at the swearing-in ceremony.

Mayawati (BSP): Many regard Mayawati as the architect behind Congress and JDS coming together in the aftermath of vote count. She already had a pre-poll arrangement with the JDS which perhaps meant that the there was another incentive to oust BJP. Not that she needs any.

Mayawati, having been drubbed in the UP Assembly elections, had been looking at ways she could prove her relevance. To this end, she teamed up with her nemesis Akhilesh Yadav and registered a big win in UP bypolls. She would eventually turn her attention towards Karnataka where UP CM Yogi Adityanath too was campaigning for BJP. Partnering with JDS, she hit the campaign trail and while Mayawati couldn't really attract masses, people who did turn up swore allegiance to her.

At a time when JDS leaders were expected to be kingmakers, it is Mayawati who may well have emerged as the leader with the hand rocking the cradle. As for its ramifications back home, it would perhaps be a gradual process. For now, an oath-ceremony awaits down south.

Akhilesh Yadav (SP): There are niggling doubts about Akhilesh-Rahul friendship and whether it remains on firm footing despite the alliance being thumped down during UP Assembly elections. Much like Mayawati though, Akhilesh does consider BJP as the biggest threat which dwarfs any differences he may have with any other party. Therefore, a Congress-JDS combine in Karnataka is in the interest of the SP leader who is likely to attend Kumaraswamy's oath-taking ceremony. And much like Mayawati again, it could be a statement to people in his home state that there is indeed an alternative to BJP. With 2019 elections round the corner, it could well be a strong message.

 

 

Chandrababu Naidu (TDP):  A rather special seat may be reserved for Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu because he is the latest to join the anti-BJP front. Slogans, dharnas, placards - TDP workers have been there and done a lot of that in recent weeks to protest against Centre's apparant reluctance in giving Andhra Pradesh special status.

TDP was an alliance partner of BJP but differences over special status to the state of Andhra led to the bonhomie breaking down. Naidu himself has accused BJP of backstabbing and said aspirations of Andra Pradesh were curtailed by not giving the state special status despite promising it during the carving out of Telangana. Since, the TDP supremo has accused BJP of unethical politics, conspiracy, hurting democracy and recently said he suspected the party would turn its attention to Andhra Pradesh after the 'debacle' in Karnataka. 

 

 

While Naidu has already appealed to the Telegu population to resist BJP, his attendance at Kumaraswamy's oath-taking ceremony could be a signal towards unity between two of south India's biggest states. Interestingly, he had offered to host Congress and JDS MLAs in his state when they were being shielded from alleged bribes from BJP ahead of Karnataka Assembly floor-test. If nothing else, an invite to Naidu could well be a note of thanks.

Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress): Here is a woman who is most likely to grab the most eyeballs - metaphorically of course. Facing ire from BJP and PM Narendra Modi himself for alleged panchayat poll violence in West Bengal, Mamata appears keen to hit back where it hurts the most. And if that hurt is the most for BJP in Karnataka, then Karnataka is where Mamata would be at.

 

 

One of the most vocal leaders against BJP, Mamata maintains the party is trying to kill democracy in her state. She has also been one of the biggest supporters of a strong regional front to oppose BJP - especially before elections next year. As recently as earlier this year, she was in Delhi to meet several opposition leaders and discuss strategies. Kumaraswamy's oath-taking ceremony could be a reunion of sorts and propel her as a key figure in any possible alliance that may eventually come up against BJP.

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