Congress's Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday blamed "vested interests" after the party's coalition government in Karnataka failed the test of strength in the state assembly. The government had come to power last May - Mr Gandhi had been instrumental in stitching up an eleventh-hour coalition with HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular to keep the BJP out of power.
On Tuesday, weeks after 13 Congress and three Janata Dal Secular lawmakers quit, the coalition government faced the trust vote and managed to scrape up only 99 votes, way behind the BJP's 105.
Late in the evening, long after the trust vote and the resignation of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Mr Gandhi -- who made his resignation from the party chief's post official this month -- tweeted his take.
Without naming the BJP, he posted: "From its first day, the Cong-JDS alliance in Karnataka was a target for vested interests, both within & outside, who saw the alliance as a threat & an obstacle in their path to power. Their greed won today. Democracy, honesty & the people of Karnataka lost".
Mr Gandhi's tweet elicited a strong response from the Karnataka BJP.
& again you don't make any sense.— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) July 23, 2019
May be it's the effect of the
“Slap of Democracy”
Your desperation to hold on to power has lost today.
It's a victory of Karnataka over your unholy alliance & greed for power.
Democracy has won today & people's mandate is restored https://t.co/7swZB5s5oL
Formed to keep the BJP out of power, the alliance had got off to a shaky start, with the locals leaders initially coming to loggerheads over ministerial berths. While the niggles were ironed out in Delhi through meetings between Mr Kumaraswamy and Mr Gandhi, the rift surfaced on multiple occasions.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also took a dig at BJP and said "every lie is eventually exposed".
Until then I suppose, the citizens of our country will have to endure their unbridled corruption, the systematic dismantling of insitutions that protect the people's interests and the weakening of a democracy that took decades of toil and sacrifice to build.— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) July 23, 2019
The walkout by the legislators started earlier this month, following the coalition's wipeout in the national elections. The alliance had got only two seats against the BJP's 26.
The Congress has been accusing the BJP of horse trading - an allegation the BJP denied.
In the overstretched three-day debate that preceded today's trust vote, Congress's Siddaramaiah accused the BJP of attempting to topple the coalition government through bribery and "wholesale trade" of legislators.
"This wholesale trade is a problem. If there is retail trade of one or two members then it's not a problem... Rs 25 crore, 30 crore, 50 crore were offered, where is this money coming from?" he also questioned.
The party's state in-charge KC Venugopal underscored "unscrupulous political horse trading of BJP".
"The sabotage of a duly elected government in Karnataka carried out by the BJP is one of the most heinous and subversive instances of blatant political horse tradings the country has ever witnessed," his statement read.
"BJP carried out this political drama by offering huge amounts of black money and ministerial berths to the defected MLAs. Along with this, the BJP also misused central agencies like Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax for black mailing and coercing MLAs," the statement further read.