While the Congress is placing the entire credit for the Congress-JD(S) alliance on its president Rahul Gandhi, the truth is that there is a local heavyweight who ensured that the BJP is unable to form the government in Karnataka even after winning almost half the seats.
This is not for the first time that D.K. Shivakumar has come to the rescue of the Congress. D.K. Shivakumar has shown the capability of saving Congress from embarrassment time and again. His ability to handle crisis situations came to the fore for the first time in 2002. Then, the Vilasrao Deshmukh government in Maharashtra was in deep trouble. Fearing a defeat, Deshmukh had moved his MLAs to the adjoining state of Karnataka, ruled by the then Congress chief minister S.M. Krishna. Krishna chose his confidante, the then urban development minister, DK Shivakumar to handle the situation. Shivakumar kept the Congress MLAs hostage at Eagleton resort for a week. Shivakumar escorted the MLAs to Maharashtra for the trust vote. The Vilasrao government surprisingly survived the trust vote and Shivakumar became an instant hit.
Shivakumar made headlines all over again in August last year, this time the beneficiary was Gandhi family loyalist Ahmed Patel. The BJP seemed all set to cause huge embarrassment to the Gandhi family by defeating their man-Friday in the Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat. This time around he was tasked with confining six Gujarat congress MLAs. He emerged victorious and the Gandhi loyalist was able to retain his Rajya Sabha seat.
However, his biggest exploit has been, by far, saving the Congress-JD(S) alliance. Keeping MLAs of a party with dwindling fortunes together is no mean task. Confinement of MLAs may be both condemnable and deplorable but the fact remains that he saved the Congress from being thrown out of their last bastion. He had done that in the past but this time the task was bigger, the job tougher and the stakes higher. The BJP was looking like a deadly force and few would have believed that the Congress would be able to keep the party afloat. However, Shivakumar was equal to the task. He handled 116 MLAs belonging to the coalition with finesse and made sure that they remained with the alliance. Such was his influence that even independents came along with the alliance. Initially, the MLAs were confined in the infamous Eagleton resort. Later on, Shivakumar created an illusion that the MLAs were being transported to Kerala, however, in a last minute change, it was announced that they were shifted to Hyderabad. A trick that took everyone by surprise.
One can only sympathise with Shivakumar for not being given his due. The Congress does not care much for political skill, it works entirely on familial relationships and flattery. Shivakumar is not only a master strategist but an important monetary asset for the Congress as well. In fact, in 2013 elections, he declared assets worth Rs. 251 crore in his affidavit making him the second richest minister in the country. This time around he declared a mind boggling net worth of Rs. 700 crore, almost three fold increase in total wealth. However, he has been sidelined time and again by the Congress. Even now, the Congress has heartlessly snubbed Shivakumar, and reportedly, G Parameshwara is set to be the next deputy chief minister while H.D. Kumaraswamy will be the chief minister. Last year, Shivakumar was not made the KPCC president primarily because he might have been seen a threat by the then chief minister Siddaramaiah.
As per an Indian Express report, Shivakumar the savior of the Congress in Karnataka has eyes on a ‘bigger prize’. We all know what that bigger prize is. However, the Congress seems to be taking him for granted. Given, Shivakumar’s political ambitions, his net worth and political influence the Congress might lose another asset. The Congress seems to be making yet another mistake as Shivakumar might look for options elsewhere if the Congress continues to take him for granted.