How new aggressive RaGa ensured Congress-JDS's Karnataka victory: The inside story
As president of party, victory of Congress-JDS alliance in Karnataka holds a huge significance for the newly-elected chief Rahul Gandhi. However, to retain Karnataka, Gandhi scion had started working on plan B much earlier.
On May 14, Congress president Rahul Gandhi received feedback from Karnataka that elections might throw a hung assembly.
His generals were called and after a thorough discussion Plan B was forged -- post-poll alliance with JD(S).
But, the biggest challenge was to prepare the outgoing CM Siddaramaiah to accept JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy as CM candidate of Congress-JD(S) alliance.
"Rahulji took upon himself that he will convince Siddaramaiah for Plan B - the situation where Kumaraswamy can be CM and Congress needs to throw its weight behind JD(S). Gandhi also broke ice between the Gowdas and Siddaramaiah, who led the charge on Congress-JD(S) side and was seen standing next to Kumaraswamy," said a source close to the party.
Before counting started, Gandhi rushed two generals - senior leaders Ashok Gehlot and Ghulam Nabi Azad - to Bengaluru.
THE PLAN B
Around 12:30 pm when the assembly results almost became stable, Gandhi who was in touch with Karnataka leaders told them to implement Plan B.
Meanwhile, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and Ahmed Patel got in touch with other Opposition leaders. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also kept coordinating with Azad-Gehlot and kept taking regular feedback about the ground situation.
Gandhi closely coordinating with his generals and leaders, also spoke to former PM and JDS leader HD Deve Gowda and then the strategy was forged to send MLAs to Telangana via road. Congress had alleged that BJP government did not allow their MLAs to be flown out of Bangaluru to Cochi via special charted flights.
LAST DITCH EFFORT
Meanwhile, former Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar - another Vokkalinga leader- was deployed to reach out to JDs. Also the duty was given to DK Shivakumar to handle the MLAs post counting scenario.
The plan was simple Siddaramaiah, Azad, Gehlot were to appear in public whereas behind the scene job was given to DK Shivakumar and his brother," sources added.
Meanwhile in Delhi, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and former union minister Kapil Sibal were told to be ready in case the battle needs to be fought in Supreme Court. Sibal for JD(S) and Singhvi for Congress. Interestingly, sources added that both the Congress-JD(S) were in touch with 10 BJP leaders too.
Gandhi went to Chhatisgarh and Gehlot asked the entire organisation to protest on streets and outside assemblies against the political developments in Karnataka.
Gandhi, who is now working on strategy to win Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, has now given only one mantra to his party and Opposition: Have to fight BJP tooth and nail, setting the tone for 2019 Lok Sabha battle.
Although former chief minister Siddaramaiah has paved way for HD Kumaraswamy to assume the mantle, all was not well in the past. Sources close to the Grand Old Party said that Rahul had put in additional efforts to improve ties between the two leaders.
Siddaramaiah, who was ousted from JD(S) in 2005, was once opposed to the rise of HD Kumaraswamy, the son of party chief HD Deve Gowda.
Siddaramaiah later formed his own party All India Progressive Janata Dal, which later joined the Congress. Gradually, Siddaramaiah rose through the ranks to become the leader of the Opposition party. He eventually became the chief minister of Karnataka.
Incidentally, after 13 years, Siddaramaiah joined the chorus and has delightfully offered the coveted post of CM to Kumaraswamy - the man he once opposed.
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