Is HD Kumaraswamy making Rahul Gandhi a scapegoat?

HIGHLIGHTS

  • HDK trying to ‘pass the buck,’ put onus of running the govt on Congress, eventually making it a scapegoat: Congress leaders
  • Kumaraswamy also raked up a political storm recently by stating he is obligated to the Congress and not the 6.5 crore people of the state

BENGALURU: Unusually for a non-Congress chief minister, H D Kumaraswamy has been heaping praise on Rahul Gandhi and, ever since he took the helm, has been seeking the AICC president’s approval on major decisions — be it the formation of the cabinet or the farm loan waiver.

Kumaraswamy also raked up a political storm recently by stating he is obligated to the Congress and not the 6.5 crore people of the state. The CM also openly claimed he is in the CM’s chair with the blessings of “punyayatma” (noble man) Rahul.

Kumaraswamy’s comments and gestures have raised plenty of eyebrows. Political observers and some Congress leaders wonder whether the CM is trying to ‘pass the buck’ and put the onus of his running the government on the Congress, eventually making it a scapegoat, if things don’t go to plan.

Off the record, senior Congress leaders have been quite vocal. “HDK is actually playing a very smart game,” said a senior Congress leader aspiring for a plum portfolio in the cabinet. “He is shifting the whole onus to Rahul. If there is discontent over the formation of ministry or if the farm loan waiver is not what he has promised, he will blame us for it.”

Another Congress leader said: “This is unfair. He is the head of the government and is the biggest beneficiary of the trust vote, so how can he wash his hands of the matter? As head of the government he should take responsibility instead of making us a scapegoat for omissions and commissions. It is the habit of the chief minister to blame others.”

However, Congress spokesman V S Ugrappa, was more positive, saying: “What is wrong in praising Rahul when the party has scarified the CM’s post just to keep communal forces at bay? Many in the Congress are floored by CM’s humility and the respect for him has increased. By praising Rahul and Congress, Kumaraswamy is also trying to send out a message to his party workers to maintain peace and tranquility at the local level.”

“There are two ways of looking at the CM’s gestures and statements,” Shastri said. “One, it is an honest expression of frustration and helplessness he experiences at heading a government, courtesy the support of the Congress party. When this anguish is consistently repeated in different ways, it then loses its impact and common people would increasingly see it as an alibi to cover up for his inability to move forward. Second, coalitions are always a question of taking forward your partners. The CM finds himself in the unenviable position of heading a coalition where the core membership from his party is severely limited.”

Shastri went on to add: “While initially such a response may evoke sympathy, over time people will question the CM that as the head of the government he needs to take responsibility as well as ownership rather than blame circumstances that he finds himself in.”

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