Former Karnataka Chief Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy on July 28 slammed the party's erstwhile state ally for its nationwide "Save Democracy" campaign against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusing it of trying to topple democratically elected governments.
"Congress is another name for horse-trading," said the leader and added that party is an expert in dividing political parties and purchasing MLAs. In fact, the term horse trading in politics came to be in use because of it, he said.
"Congress has launched a nation-wide Save Democracy campaign against the BJP which is buying MLAs to topple democratically elected governments. What has the Congress done? Haven't they lured all BSP MLAs who supported the Congress to form the government in Rajasthan? Is this not a buyout?" Kumaraswamy asked.
In a statement, he sought to know whether luring MLAs of the party which supported them through political shenanigans and merging the party which supported them was democratic behaviour.
"If you are dividing like-minded party MLAs supporting (you) through deceit, who would support you? Are these mistakes not visible to you?" he asked the Congress.
In a politically significant development in Rajasthan, all six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs had merged the legislative party with the Congress in September 2019.
Kumaraswamy also reminded Congress, which was crying hoarse about the purchase of MLAs, that it had divided the JD(S) in Karnataka in the past.
"Haven't they made attempts to divide? Is it not a fact that for the sake of one Rajya Sabha seat, the Congress government in Karnataka purchased eight JD(S) MLAs? Is this democracy? Both parties (Congress and BJP) are criminals in purchase matters."
Eight JD(S) MLAs had voted against the party's official candidate and supported Congress in the biennial elections to Rajya Sabha from Karnataka in 2016.
"When SM Krishna was the CM (of Karnataka), didn't the Congress buy our MLAs? Didn't the Congress conspire to form a government after the 2018 Assembly polls by buying our MLAs? Does Congress have the moral courage to answer these questions?" Kumaraswamy asked.
In 2004, the Congress tried to divide JD(S), he said, adding that to avoid the party being hijacked by them, he had to oust the Dharam Singh led Congress-JD(S) coalition government through a political coup.
Noting that the Anti Defection Law is not effective because of which these "anti-democratic farces" are being enacted, Kumaraswamy said it is imperative to make those who defect and their family members not contest elections at least for two terms, besides disqualifying them from holding any office. "Let there be a debate on this. Let democracy survive," he said.
On the same day, BSP president Mayawati said her party decided to "teach a lesson" to the Congress and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for the "unconstitutional" merger of its MLAs in the state by moving the high court.
She also said BSP had been waiting for the "right time" to hit back at the Congress for the merger.
(With inputs from PTI)