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First among equals?

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First among equals?
Now that the day has been tufted, dusted and settled in Karnataka, it is JD-S chief HD Deve Gowda who is standing tall and being feted. With the Congress promising to support his bid at governance by supporting his son HD Kumaraswamy's bid to become CM. And the BJP hoping to trade with him too. He is holding the reins of stability in his delicate hands, as it were.
 
It is his day of sweet revenge and Congress' comeuppence, seeing his former protege K Siddaramaiah ground to dust and big parties waking up to his brew of coffee. As Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rightly said, the Congress should have worked out a pre-poll alliance with him.
 
This result has clearly boosted the morale of a federal front of towering regional leaders and chief ministers, who are holding on to their turf despite the Modi juggernaut, who are connected to their voter base and problems, who have cast themselves in messianic moulds against central authority and who have what the Congress lacks, a grip on the electoral numbers and on their own rank and file. The Congress would be wise to play second fiddle to these leaders if it wants to regrow from its fringe status. But then the federal front aspirants like Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati (who incidentally has done well with JD-S), K Chandrashekhar Rao, Chandrababu Naidu and Mamata Banerjee need to shed their egoism to declare a prime ministerial alternative to challenge Narendra Modi for 2019. Only then will the battle be joined. 
 
 
 
 
 

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