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Bangalore: Siddaramaiah’s appointment as Leader of the Opposition in the legislative Assembly is a pointer to the changing equations between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).
Not unlike the JD(S), which recently said it would maintain political equidistance from the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress, with Mr. Siddaramaiah’s appointment, has also indicated that it is unlikely to seek the support of the JD(S).
A few days prior to the announcement of the Lok Sabha election results on May 16, the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who is the president of the JD(S) State unit, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other top Congress leaders giving room for speculation that the JD(S) and the Congress would have a firm tie-up in Karnataka. With Mr. Siddaramaiah being made the Leader of the Opposition, this move has received a setback.
His elevation may be seen as a message that the Congress is keen on strengthening the State unit of the party on its own instead of depending on the JD(S) to strengthen the secular forces to meet the challenge posed by the growing strength of the Bharatiya Janata Party.Challenging task
Mr. Siddaramaiah, an influential backward class leader, now has the task of defending the Congress and exposing the BJP administration on the floor of the legislature and outside. He has to carry all sections of the Congress party along.
Given the delicate balance in the numbers for the ruling party and the Opposition in the Assembly, he will have no choice but to seek the support of the JD(S) on and off. The change of guard in the leadership of the JD(S) Legislature Party should help, with H.D. Revanna taking over from Mr. Kumaraswamy, who has been elected to the Lok Sabha. Mr. Siddaramaiah has a good relationship with Mr. Revanna.
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