Siddaramaiah in Delhi to meet Gandhis; denies rift with DK Shivakumar over leadership role
Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah, who was in Delhi to meet the top leadership of the party amid the speculations of power tussle ahead of the state assembly elections in the southern state, is likely to meet Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, multiple news agencies reported. The former Karnataka chief minister also sought a meeting with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, however, it is yet to be confirmed.
"I am in Delhi because Rahul Gandhi wanted to meet me by 4 o'clock today. I am meeting him. This is what KC Venugopal told me. I don't know what subject matter he is going to discuss," ANI quoted the senior leader as saying.
Siddaramaiah denied speculation of any rift between him and the party's Karnataka unit chief DK Shivakumar. "We are together. We are building the party together... there's no rift in Karnataka Congress," he was further quoted as saying.
Siddaramaiah stressed Congress is fighting against the "corruption" of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state and asserted that it would return to power after the assembly elections, slated for 2023.
Siddaramaiah's visit to the national capital is significant as it comes in the backdrop of several Congress MLAs openly backing him as the next chief ministerial face of the party. They include Chickpet MLA BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan and Kampli MLA JN Ganesh.
Another section of the party wants Shivakumar to take up the leadership role if Congress secures a majority in Karnataka in the 2023 elections.
Tuesday's meeting is likely to see discussions around the appointment of office-bearers and strategies for the assembly elections, news agency PTI reported citing those familiar with the development.
Shivakumar would visit Delhi on July 26.
AICC national general secretary and the party's Karnataka in-charge, Randeep Singh Surjewala, is also expected to visit the southern state and hold meetings with existing office-bearers.