Karnataka Congress leaders battle for CM post ahead of 2023 assembly polls
The Congress plans to win 130+ seats in next year's Karnataka assembly election but seems still not be able to present a united front with senior leaders vying to be seen as next in line for the chief minister's post, leaving workers confused.
The party high command has yet to announce a candidate, but there are already several camps within the state unit dropping names. News agency ANI quoted a senior leader as saying a 'damage control' policy is needed right now.
"It is clear in the Karnataka Congress many faces want to be 'CM candidate'. The two factions are confusing their own party workers. It's not only former CM Siddaramaiah (who lead the Congress government for a complete five-year term in Karnataka) or DK Shivakumar (who is leading Congress in Karnataka after being appointed as president) but many seniors on the list" he said.
The Congress high command had earlier stepped in with diktats asking all party leaders to stop dropping chief ministerial names.
Former minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan is one of those to have declared Leader of the Opposition and ex-CM Siddaramaiah the next CM.
This was taken with a pinch of salt by loyalists of DK Shivakumar and other factions within the party, even as stalwarts Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have themselves quashed rumours on multiple occasions.
Shivakumar said, "The party is more important than a person."
Apart from the two, Dalit leader Dr G Parameshwara, national general secretary and Maharashtra in-charge HK Patil, senior Panchamasaali Lingayat leader MB Patil, and Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge, with Lingayat aspirant Eshwar Khandre and others are also on the potential 'CM waiting list'.
Shivakumar said, "If the Congress wants to achieve their dream of 130-plus seats in Karnataka Assembly, which their own survey teams are assuring them at present, Congress needs to be aware of another Ashok Gehlot vs Sachin Pilot fight in Karnataka, or else it will become another drama stage for Congress to "solve" issues once again. Karnataka Assembly election will be the final test for Congress in the country after losing the coalition government in Maharashtra."
Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah have had several meetings with Rahul Gandhi, KC Venugopal and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Surjewala on these issues.
The controversy over the CM post rose anew after Siddaramaiah's loyalists announced a month-long programme in his honour as part of his 75th birthday celebrations. The massive convention, called ‘Siddaramotsava’, is set to project Siddaramaiah and his contributions, which is being seen as an attempt to send a message to the party high command ahead of polls.
Rahul Gandhi is also likely to participate in the event, ANI reported.
About the birthday bash, DK Shivakumar on Wednesday said he had no objections, but that his priority would be the celebrations of India's 75th Independence day, as directed by the party high command.
(With agency inputs)
Amid the 'Bommai ouster' rumours in Karnataka, BJP General Secretary and state in-charge Arun Singh on Saturday stated that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai "is here to stay" and will lead the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming Assembly election. Following this, the position of Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, has been labelled as a "weak chief minister". This election will be fought under the leadership of Basavaraj Bommai assures Arun Singh.
Nationalist Congress Party leaders Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik and Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who have been arrested in money laundering cases by the Enforcement Directorate, are now lodged in Arthur Road Jail in three different barracks. Malik, who was arrested in February in a money laundering case, is currently admitted to the Criti Care Hospital in Kurla for treatment. He is admitted to a private hospital for the last two months.
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday terminated four employees from service, including the son of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and wife of former militant Bitta Karate - amid probe over terror links, officials said on Saturday. Dr Muheet Ahmad Bhat, and Majid Hussain Qadiri - both of them linked to the University of Kashmir - are the two others employees who have been sacked.
Suspected militants targeted paramilitary CRPF with a grenade in Srinagar on Saturday, just a day ahead of Independence Day. A CRPF personnel was injured in the attack in the Old City, Eidgah. Srinagar police said that the CRPF personnel received minor injuries in the attack. Local reports said that the grenade was lobbed towards a CRPF bunker in Eidgah in which a sub-inspector of the CRPF was wounded.
Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday said that within a year government will push the last nail in the coffin of terrorism. Sinha today laid the foundation stone of 25 District Development Council and Block Development Council buildings in J&K, besides inaugurating 1000 Amrit Sarovars across J&K UT, in a function at SKICC, Srinagar.