Buoyed by the success of Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra, Congress High Command and a section of the state leaders are considering a possible tie-up once again post by-poll results. Republic has accessed inside details of Congress-JDS reconsidering alliance in Karnataka. Republic has learnt inside details of what has been discussed viz-a-viz a return to an alliance with JDS which ended on bitter terms earlier this year. Congress HC has reportedly told the state leadership that if the party gets 8 seats and JDS gets 2-3, they could revisit the coalition with JDS.
Sources have told Republic that Congress observers have even established contact with former PM HD Deve Gowda who has shown enthusiasm towards a proposed rekindling of a relationship with the grand old party. State leaders have assured observers that they're confident of winning only 5 of the 15 seats up for byelections. Seats assured of winning- Ranebennur, Kagawada, Hunasur, Athani and Shivajinagar whereas two seats-Hosakote, Chikkaballapur-are being perceived as seats with 50% chances of winning.
Both Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy have been excluded from the conversation so far, claimed the source, but Congress senior leaders are apprehensive of Siddaramaiah's reaction as the bypolls are being fought under his leadership. Buzz within the Congress is that a proposal of making Siddaramiah the Chief Minister and HD Revanna the deputy chief minister.
Adding further heft to speculations, Rajya Sabha MP from Congress, BK Hariprasad, quipped, "The Congress will win 12 seats and then if the JDS decides to support us, we could come back to power in Karnataka. But of course, our high command will take the final decision on this."
What will, however, be different in the coalition 2.0 being considered is who will be at the driver’s wheels. While in 2018, Congress had offered unconditional support to its minority partner and had agreed to HD Kumaraswamy to be the chief minister for five years, this time around, it would be a proposition for a Congress government supported by JDS. Several senior leaders from Congress, like Mallikharjuna Kharge, G Parameshwara and Veerappa Moily, have already expressed their eagerness towards allying with the JDS. Veerappa Moily also added that if the ruling BJP fails to secure at least eight seats, the current government will crumble and in order to avoid fresh elections in the state, coalition 2.0 would be in everyone’s interest.