Cautious after its bitter experiences in Manipur and Goa, the Congress displayed extreme hurry in extending support to JD(S).
In Karnataka, Congress was able to do what appeared impossible to many. Several leaders are being credited for pulling the grand old party out from jaws of defeat in the state. Cautious after its bitter experiences in Manipur and Goa, the Congress displayed extreme hurry in extending support to JD(S). It appeared that top party leadership, particularly Ashok Gehlot, in-charge of Karnataka Congress, and Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, were ready with a plan B if the situation arises.
However, this was just the beginning of what would later become a no-strings-attached battle between the BJP and the Congress. The battle soon reached the Supreme Court, where Congress Rajya Sabha MP and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi took the battle forward on behalf of his party. On the other hand, in Karnataka, it was DK Shivakumar who was entrusted with the task of keeping all MLAs together. Here’s a look at how the four men led Congress to a historic post-poll victory in the state.
Entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the Congress flock intact, former energy minister DK Shivakumar is the person credited for saving the day for his party. Shivakumar, a Vokalligga community leader from the Congress, hosted 116 MLAs for three days. Not only did he keep the MLAs ‘protected’ from poaching, he was also seen entering the Karnataka Assembly with one of the ‘missing’ MLAs. Undoubtedly, ‘hosting’ more than 100 MLAs was not an easy task for Shivakumar. Some reports say that Shinakumar is eyeing the deputy CM post, while a meaty portfolio is guaranteed for the leader.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi
Supreme Court’s intervention in the matter played a big role in Karnataka battle. As it became clear that B S Yeddyurappa was to meet Governor Vajubhai Vala, top Congress leaders entrusted Abhishek Manu Singhvi, party’s legal brain. However, he was away in Chandigarh at that point of time. Indian Express reports that first draft was discussed and agreed upon over the phone itself. With the help from MB Patil, a high-profile leader and legal point person in Karnataka, Singhvi prepared a draft to counter the BJP. Singhvi boarded a chartered flight and reached Delhi within hours. The Counsel led his party’s charge in the top court at midnight and successfully came out with a verdict that helped the party sail through.
Ghulam Nabi Azad
The AICC mind for Karnataka included four leaders – Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot and K C Venugopal. Azaad kept the momentum for Congress and appeared as the only national leader anchoring from the front. On several occasions, Azad held press conferences and accused BJP of poaching the MLAs of Congress and JDS. He was also instrumental in striking a deal with the JD(S). Azad was the leader who spoke to HD Dewe Gowda with his party’s proposal to form the government in alliance.
Ashok Gehlot, a former chief minister of Rajasthan, was AICC pointsman to Karnataka. He was seen taking a proactive part in all the post-results developments in the state. Gehlot accompanied Azad in all meetings. Not only after the elections, he was also seen strategising party’s gameplan before polls.