Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seems to be quite bothered by Congress’ fate in Karnataka. In his latest statement, a dejected Siddaramaiah has stated that he won’t object if the Congress decides to supersede him and install a Dalit chief minister in his place in case Congress gets an opportunity to form the government in the state. Even though Siddaramaiah was trying to show that he is ready to make any political compromise, there was a tinge of disappointment and unwillingness in his statement.
While stating that he won’t object if the high command appoints a Dalit chief minister, at the same time he cautioned the high command not to impose a leader on the state. He also stated that the high command must not proceed against the wishes of the legislators. This is a highly political statement. Siddaramaiah is wary of not going against the high command and Dalit sentiments but at the same time he is reluctant to be sidelined. This is still in contrast to what Siddaramaiah had stated in an interview to the Deccan Chronicle. He had then opined that no Dalit Congress leaders were in the race for the top post.
It seems from the measured statement made by Siddaramaiah that there is something amiss about the entire narrative of the Congress installing a Dalit chief minister in the state. It seems that the idea of Dalit empowerment is a mere excuse to throw Siddaramaiah out of the picture, who many believe, is the reason behind cold JDS-Congress relations. The BJP had fully exploited the ego clashes between Deve Gowda and Siddaramaiah during the election campaign. The rift between the two so called secular parties got wider so much as the elections came near that a coalition in the BJP became impossible. The JDS has already made it clear that it is not going to enter an alliance with the Congress. The fact that Deve Gowda and Siddaramaiah can’t see eye to eye is no longer a secret. During his election speeches, Deve Gowda never minced words against Siddaramaiah. Now, with most of the exit polls showing that even in the best case scenario, the Congress will only be barely able to stop BJP from reaching the clear majority mark, the high command decided to sacrifice Siddaramaiah. The Congress seems to have realised that the only face saving device left with it is to somehow appease Deve Gowda and forge an alliance with the JDS.
With the kind of disappointment visible on the face of Siddaramaiah’s words and Congress’ track record, one cannot help but come at this conclusion. The Congress does not have any self-respect and sacrificing leaders for the sake of retaining political power is not new to the Congress. In such circumstances, it won’t be surprising if the Congress tries to flatter a regional satrap in order to retain Karnataka. Since, Deve Gowda will never form a government with the Congress with Siddaramaiah as its prospective chief minister, the Congress is using the last weapon in its armory, the Dalit card.
With this, Siddaramaiah’s political career has come to an end for all practical purposes. He was not going to get elected this time around anyway. Whatever little chances he still had of retaining the top post have been dashed in a single stroke by the Congress high command. He has already stated that this is the last time he has contested elections and that he will retire from active party politics after the Karnataka elections that took place on May 12. Whether Congress loses comprehensively to the BJP or somehow circumvents the electoral verdict by forming an unholy alliance, Siddaramaiah is not going to be the next Karnataka chief minister.