Two Congress legislators on Sunday met BJP leader SM Krishna at the latter’s residence fuelling speculations around the longevity of the Congress-JD(S) alliance government in Karnataka.
Congress leaders Ramesh Jarkiholi and Dr Sudhakar also met BJP leader R Ashok who was present at Krishna’s residence.
The meeting came days after the Congress-JD(S) alliance faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of the BJP in Lok Sabha elections in Karnakata. The saffron party won 25 of the 28 seats in the state, while the Congress and JD(S) could manage to win just one seat each.
But Jarkiholi said that it was just a “courtesy call” to SM Krishna, a former Congress leader and Union Minister during the UPA regime.
“It was not a political meeting. We wanted to wish SM Krishna-ji after BJP won 25 seats in Karnataka. It was a courtesy call,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
BJP leader R Ashok, too, downplayed the meeting.
“I came to meet SM Krishna-ji to discuss party matters. I have no friendship with Congress leaders Ramesh Jarkiholi and Sudhakar,” he said.
Besides the two Congress MLAs, newly-elected Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambareesh, too, met Krishna. Former Karnataka CM and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa was also present at the meeting.
Ambareesh, an Independent candidate, was backed by the BJP in the constituency known as a JD(S) stronghold. The party did not field a candidate against her.
“I wanted to first thank the BJP for its support. I am individually meeting everybody who extended their support to me,” Ambareesh, the first ever woman independent MP elected in Karnataka, said.
Ambareesh said that she can extend “issue-based support” to the BJP but not join the party. The Independent MP added that she will have to consult the people of Mandya before taking a decision.
“I will go to Mandya on 29 May. I would like to give credit to everyone who has worked hard for me. It was a tough election. A lot of people did not give me a chance at all,” she said.
The BJP is the single largest party with 105 seats in a 224-member Karnataka Assembly. It requires only eight MLAs to reach the majority mark of 113.
There were reports of trouble within the coalition government even before the announcement of election results, which gained strength following the rout of the Congress and the JD(S) in the state.
But Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah asserted that all is well with the coalition government in the state.