New Delhi: Once bitten, twice shy! The Congress is taking no chances in Karnataka and has sent in its top guns to avoid a repeat of the Goa and Manipur fiascos in the past, where it failed to form government despite emerging as the largest party.
The party has sent senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot to the southern state where results of the assembly polls would be out on Tuesday. The Congress has, however, been 'bitten' thrice, as it failed to retain power in Meghalaya recently, despite emerging as the largest party and the leadership rushing Kamal Nath and Ahmed Patel to the state to build on the advantage.
Sources said Azad and Gehlot have reached Bangalore and have met chief minister Siddharamaiah and other party leaders. They are also likely to meet JD(S) leaders, including H D Deve Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy, in case it fails to get a majority of its own.
The sources say that the Congress is in touch with the JD(S) leadership too and have met Kumaraswamy before he left for abroad after the polling ended. Kumaraswamy, who is currently in Singapore, will return Monday night.
The two senior leaders, the sources said, have been sent by the party leadership to ensure that no stone is left unturned for formation of the next Congress government in Karnataka. AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal is also present in the state along with party secretaries in charge of the state.
The Congress expressed confidence that the party will get a majority on its own and would repeat its government there. Asked about the party's prospects in Karnataka, Congress communication in-charge Randeep Surjewala said it will get over 130 seats in the state as the people of Karnataka have rejected the politics of corruption and mafia.
"The people have rejected the politics of corruption and criminalisation and will not allow the Yeddy-Reddy gang to come to power," he told reporters, while referring to the Yeddyurappa and Reddy brothers of Bellary. He claimed that the Congress will come to power again and form its government led by Siddharamaiah as it has taken the state to greater heights by initiating all-round development and creating jobs.
Asked about Siddharamaiah offering the chief minister's post to a Dalit, he said the sentiment behind his statement was different and asked whether prime minister Narendra Modi would also offer the PM's post to a Dalit. "Will prime minister Narendra Modi show the courage to hand over the prime ministership to a Dalit? They will never say so and this can be stated only by the Congress leader who keeps the party above his own self," he said, while thanking Siddharamaiah for offering his chair to a Dalit leader.
On whether the Congress rules out the possibility of an alignment with the JD(S), Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said, "It is a hypothetical question that will be rejected at 5 O'clock tomorrow."