Doddalahalli Kempegowda Shivakumar, or DK as he is popularly known, has dealt a second major blow to the Modi-Shah combine when he guarded the 117 MLAs of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular combine and thwarted the BJP’s attempt to poach them. So effective was he that he failed every effort of the Bharatiya Janata Party to break the MLAs from the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular, that not even one MLA crossed the floor.
Cool, calm and composed, Shivakumar was truly the man of the match in the finals of the Karnataka Political League – trust vote in Karnataka assembly – with the BJP unleashing its predatory forces comprising mining barons, political heavy weights, money bags and backroom boys to bring across eight MLAs needed to cross the magic figure of 111 (as the house strength became 221) – and saved each and every MLA in the Congress-JD-S camp.
Former Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah could not deliver the numbers to retain the state. The BJP with 104 MLAs was within striking distance (just nine short of the magic number in 224-member house) but in fact needed just eight to win the trust vote. Something that the party in power at the Centre and with controversial mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy and his follower B Sriramulu was expected to rope in few MLAs with ease.
But at the nick of time for the Congress, the star batsman and its most powerful leader DK padded out onto the pitch and took full control of the situation, just like when he took all the Congress MLAs of Gujarat into ‘safe custody’ and kept them out of reach from alleged poachers and kidnappers during the Rajya Sabha elections of August 2017.
BJP national president Amit Shah had camped in Gujarat to ensure the defeat of senior Congress leader and Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel. But, DK protected the MLAs from all predatory moves of the BJP.
On Saturday in Bangalore, DK, dealt yet another blow to the Modi-Shah team by frustrating their effort to install a minority government in Karnataka. After failing to wean away even a single MLA of the combine, new Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa preferred to resign rather than face the trust vote.
After Congress teamed up with Janata Dal (S) to attempt to form a government under the Janata Dal (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, with their combined strength of 117 members, once again it was DK who came to the fore. As, disregarding the claim of the Congress-JD(S), state governor gave a chance to Yeddyurappa to form the government and gave him 15 days’ time to prove his majority, which was cut short to 24 hours.
The challenge for the Congress-JD-S combine was to protect its MLAs and defeat the trust vote of the BJP government on the floor of the house.
Incidentally, DK has been the Congress party’s trusted hand whenever it came to protect its MLAs anywhere in the country. Earlier, when the Congress feared poaching of its MLAs by the BJP-Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, it was DK who hosted them in a Karnataka resort, way back in June 2002. At that time, he had put them up at the Golden Palms Resort and Spa and ensured that the Congress-NCP government won the trust vote then.
Even more recently, the Gujarat MLAs, Shivakumar ferried all the 42 Congress MLAs and kept them under his watch at the Eagleton Golf Resort in Bidadi in Karnataka. When the MLAs were in the resort, it was raided by central government agencies and Shivakumar had been raided several times for IT violations and is facing several cases. But unperturbed, DK exuded confidence and walked with swagger of a winner. His body language on Saturday and in fact ever since the political drama erupted in Karnataka was one of supreme confidence.
Not to be left behind, chief ministerial candidate of the Congress-JD-S combine, HD Kumaraswamy, fended off all attempts of the poachers. He was even combative and in the true Sholay villain Gabbar Singh tone, he warned the BJP, “You poach one MLA, I will poach two of yours.” I