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Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy facing challenges from friends and foes alike

Kumaraswamy is facing criticism from BJP over the issue of farm loan waiver even as JD(S) and Congress struggle to reach common ground over portfolio allocation

Fazil Khan  |  New Delhi 

Narendra Modi, HD kumaraswamy
File photo of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: PTI 

H D Kumaraswamy seems to be facing challenges from friends and foes alike as on one hand, the Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress tussle over in the state Cabinet even as uncertainty continues over Kumaraswamy serving a full five-year term as CM. On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sharpened its attack on the newly-formed government over the issue of a farm loan waiver.

As the bigger partner in the coalition, the grand old party is eyeing key portfolios of finance, industries, and home, which together cover mining, power, irrigation, excise, among other things. However, JD(S) also wants to have a piece of cake and is looking to get hold of at least finance as Kumaraswamy would want to fulfil his promise of a farm loan waiver of Rs 530 billion.

Amid the current stalemate over portfolio allocation, doubts over the JD(S) and Congress partnership might gain ground considering Congress leader and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara's remarks ahead of last week's floor test. Parameshwara had said that no decision had been taken yet on whether Kumaraswamy would be the chief minister for a full five-year term.

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The longer the delay in Cabinet formation, the more time it is going to take Kumaraswamy to waive farm loans, which he says he is committed to.

However, even after five days of bargaining, the JD(S) and the Congress have not been able to resolve their issues. This has given BJP a chance to go all-out against the six-days old government.

On Monday, state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa threatened to take the next course of action if Kumaraswamy failed to deliver on his farm loan waiver promise within a week. "Kumaraswamy has told the media that he will resign from the chief minister's post if he fails to deliver on Rs 53,000 crore (Rs 530 billion) farm loan waiver within a week. We will wait until then and decide on the next course of action," he said.

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Further, the BJP launched fresh attacks on Kumaraswamy after the latter's remarks of being at the 'mercy' of Congress instead of the 65 million people of Karnataka.

Meanwhile, several kannada bodies have issued warnings to the Kumaraswamy government to waive the farm loans within a week or face consequences.

As the pressure mounts on Kumaraswamy from each and every direction possible, it will be interesting to see how he faces the current challenge and whether or not he will be able to hold his ground in the times to come.

First Published: Tue, May 29 2018. 10:47 IST