Bommai politically weak, says Shivakumar

The statements come as news of simmering dissent within the BJP has come to the fore, with senior cabinet ministers openly endorsing their colleagues for the top job.
DK Shivakumar, the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) called chief minister Basavaraj Bommai ‘weak’. (Agencies)
DK Shivakumar, the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) called chief minister Basavaraj Bommai ‘weak’. (Agencies)
Published on Dec 07, 2021 12:48 AM IST
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By, Bengaluru

The Karnataka Congress on Monday called chief minister Basavaraj Bommai “weak”, saying that he faces opposition from his partymen and has been unable to contain the growing dissent and disgruntlement within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Politically he has become weak, their minister says that (Murugesh) Nirani will become CM,” DK Shivakumar, the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), said on Monday.

The statements come as news of simmering dissent within the BJP has come to the fore, with senior cabinet ministers openly endorsing their colleagues for the top job.

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister KS Eshwarappa on November 30 said that Nirani can become Karnataka chief minister in the future, adding that Bommai will not be replaced.

The conflicting views, people aware of the developments said, were part of a growing divide within the saffron outfit ever since Bommai, who is relatively a new entrant into the BJP, was picked to replace BS Yediyurappa in late July this year.

The likes of Basanagouda Patil (Yatnal), the firebrand legislator from Bijapura, has continued to make contentious remarks and even hint at “big changes” in the coming months. That action is yet to be taken against leaders like Yatnal has forced the impression that the party high command has given them a free hand just like it did against Yediyurappa.

While most of the senior state leadership kept their composure despite the contentious decision, the endorsement of Bommai by Amit Shah in early September as the face of the 2023 assembly elections in the state, stirred the nest further.

Bommai has been termed a “puppet” of the national party leadership by analysts, the opposition and his partymen.

On his part, Bommai has continued to consult his predecessor, Yediyurappa, on every major decision, and the cabinet he currently leads, are candidates chosen by the latter.

Bommai has been unable to convince the national leadership to expand his cabinet to quell some of this dissent.

“Right now we are engaged in (the) legislative council poll battle and preparations for the Belagavi session of the legislature. As for ministry expansion, future courses of action would be based on suggestions from our senior leadership,” Bommai said on Monday in Hubballi, about 450 kms from Bengaluru.

Facing a slew of charges of corruption, including the Bitcoin scandal and a section of contractors writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on “commission” sought by ministers, MLAs and officials even before securing tenders and beginning to work, Bommai has been at the receiving end in recent times.

The loss at Hanagal in his home district of Haveri in the October 30 bypolls has also weighed on the chief minister, who has been accused of stirring up communal sentiments to deflect attention away from him.

The Christian community in the state is protesting against the new chief minister and his decision to introduce a bill to ban forcible religious conversions, and a survey of all churches in the state, which the minority group has said will spoil the peace and harmony.

The rise of hate crimes, communal clashes and moral policing is also attributed to Bommai and his provocative statements.

The BJP will try harder now to win seats in the December 10 MLC polls and has even indicated a possible alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) to gain control over the upper house of the state legislature.

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Saturday, May 28, 2022