- HD Kumaraswamy brushed off speculation of rift with ally Congress
- Karnataka alliance's challenges included a tussle over portfolios
- Mr Kumaraswamy acknowledged some hurdles will be there
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy today brushed off speculation of a rift with ruling ally Congress, fed by his recent tearful outburst at a public meeting that he was in 'pain". "Congress friends are totally supporting", Mr Kumaraswamy said, adding that he has been given a free hand by party chief Rahul Gandhi. His anguish, he explained in an exclusive interview to NDTV, was that some sections of society and the media were opposing him.
"That pain, I will tell you frankly, is not coalition pain. Congress people are supporting me... I am a very sensitive person. I accepted this challenge with a good faith. But some sections of the society, why they are criticising me? What wrong have I done?" Mr Kumaraswamy told NDTV.
The ruling alliance in Karnataka -- where the larger party chose to take a backseat to keep the BJP out of power in the state -- witnessed some ups and downs since it was formed in May. Its many challenges included a tussle over portfolios and the presentation of the state budget, which Mr Kumaraswamy's predecessor Siddaramaiah was not in favour of as he had presented a full budget in February.
So over the weekend, visuals of Mr Kumaraswamy breaking down, saying he was not a happy man and comparing himself to Lord Shiva, who drank poison to save the world, had bolstered speculation that the Chief Minister was unhappy as the leader of the coalition.
The reactions in the Congress ranged from a buck up to a brush off. While Mr KUmaraswamy's deputy G Parameshwara insisted that a chief minister "has to be happy always", the party's central leader Mallikarjun Kharge advised him to "have courage", since running a coalition is not always easy.
Acknowledging that some hurdles will be there in a coalition government, Mr Kumaraswamy today said, "I personally thank Rahul Gandhi. He has given me complete free hand in running the government".
"According to me, all Congress leaders are supporting me. MLAs and leaders are happy with me. I am also happy with them... the government is running smoothly. We are taking a lot of decisions," he added.