Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday affirmed that the Janata Dal (Secular) is not Bharatiya Janata Party's B-team, and can contest elections on their own. This comes in response to a 'B-team' dig made by Rahul Gandhi in 2018 and reiterated thereafter on several occasions.
He also took the occasion to refute Congress' allegations that the JDS is against the Muslim community, and went on to state that they had fielded a suitable Muslim Candidate for the Basavakalyan constituency.
"Congress keeps saying that we are BJP's 'B' team and that we are against the Muslim community, which is not true. We have chosen a suitable Muslim candidate for Basavakalyan and bother national parties must know that we can contest elections on our merit," he said.
While BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 104 seats in the 2018 Karnataka Assembly election, Yediyurappa had to resign merely two days after taking oath as the CM owing to his party's inability to muster a majority in the state Assembly. Kumaraswamy was sworn-in as the CM on May 23, 2018, after JD(S) and Congress stitched a post-poll alliance. The infighting within the alliance intensified after BJP swept Karnataka in the 2019 General Election by winning 25 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats. The crisis for the coalition government commenced on July 6, 2019, when 12 legislators submitted their resignations to the Karnataka Speaker's office.
Soon, the number of rebel MLAs swelled to 17 which led to Governor Vajubhai Vala asking the government to prove its majority on the floor of the House. As a three-judge Supreme Court bench refused to compel the rebel MLAs to attend the Assembly proceedings, the JD(S)-Congress government lost the trust vote on July 23, 2019. Speaking to the media on December 5, 2020, Kumaraswamy contended that he fell into a trap by agreeing to form the government with Congress after the 2018 Karnataka poll verdict. According to him, he could have retained the Chief Minister's post even now if JD(S) allied with BJP. Moreover, he accused former CM and Congress' Siddaramaiah of conspiring against him.
(with inputs from agencies)