Karnataka CM warns Congress: Control MLAs, or I will quit
Bengaluru: In an indication that the Congress-JD(S) coalition could be close to an implosion and could face its biggest test yet ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy offered to quit if his style of functioning was not acceptable to some Congress leaders, signaling that his own patience with running the fractious partnership was also running thin.
Having faced constant challenges to his government over the past eight months from rebels in the Congress Party, Mr Kumaraswamy seemed in no mood to entertain more criticism as he responded to claims by some Congress legislators on Sunday that he was doing little for the state’s development and that former CM Siddaramaiah had done a better job while in office.
“I don’t want to stick to my chair. Congress and JD(S) leaders decided to form the government to give good governance and we are doing a good job. The deputy chief minister, I and several ministers are working hard. For Bengaluru, we have already taken a decision to go ahead with the PRR, elevated corridor and suburban railway. We expect an investment of over one lakh crores in the city,” he said. The CM’s outburst is yet another indication of the simmering rivalry between him and Mr Siddaramaiah, according to party sources. The JD(S) has long suspected that the former CM was behind the Congress MLAs’ hobnobbing with the BJP and triggering the Operation Lotus scare, to keep Mr Kumaraswamy in check. With the parliamentary elections now fast approaching, Mr Siddaramaiah’s supporters are reportedly feeling uneasy as the “original” Congressmen, like Mr D K Shivakumar and Mr Dinesh Gundurao, are steadily regaining the ground they had lost to him when he was chief minister.
Also, with the JD(S) bargaining for at least 10 to 12 parliamentary seats, including Bengaluru North, that its party surpremo H.D. Deve Gowda is reportedly eyeing for himself, they are feeling more threatened, they reveal. “Not only is Mr Siddaramaiah hoping the ticket for the constituency will go to his close ally, H.M. Revanna, but also to all four Congress MLAs from the constituency, RDPR minister Krishna Byregowda, S.T. Somashekhar, Byrathi Suresh and Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, who are his supporters, say sources. Sunday’s attack on the chief minister was meant to signal that Mr Deve Gowda was not welcome in Bengaluru North, they add. However, the incident has reportedly not been viewed kindly by the Congress leadership.