Infighting amongst the party ranks was the reason Congress-JD(S) alliance lost the trust vote in Karnataka Assembly in 2019 and eventually ceded power to BJP’s BS Yediyurappa. With two years to go for the next assembly elections, fissures have started to widen in Karnataka Congress once again as Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar factions battle for supremacy in the party.
Zameer Ahmed, a Congress MLA and a staunch Siddaramaiah loyalist ignited the fire between two camps when he remarked that Siddaramaiah will be the future CM of the state — sidestepping current Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar.
“I don’t want to say Siddaramaiah as the past chief minister. I want to say my leader Siddaramaiah is the future chief minister. That’s what the feeling of the people is. It is the opinion of the people,” said Zameer Ahmed.
Sensing the conversation was increasingly becoming one-sided in Siddaramaiah’s favour, Shivakumar immediately jumped in on the controversy and instructed Zameer to stay quiet.
“I myself and state congress in charge Randeep Singh Surjewala have already cautioned Zameer Ahmed not to make such statements at this point of time. We believe in collective decisions. I’m the president of the congress here in Karnataka, no leadership is important, what is important is leading congress towards victory,” said Shivakumar.
AICC General Secretary, in charge of Karnataka and Congress Spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala had echoed Shivakumar’s sentiments.
“I have noted with concern that certain individuals in the Congress party have recently become prone to issuing statements about leadership in Karnataka or leadership post Congress government formation. I take this opportunity to forewarn them to avoid such comments completely,” said Surjewala.
Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar are seen as the potential CM faces if the party returns to power in 2023. However, by agreeing to let HD Kumaraswamy become the CM, in order to keep the BJP out of the state, Siddaramaiah had made quite a sacrifice and thus the senior leader was expecting a direct endorsement from the top Congress brass as the CM face this time around.
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With the Gandhi clan keeping both groups guessing, Siddaramaiah, done waiting for the approval has given the nod to his loyalists to go out and openly endorse him in the public, so as to create a narrative in his favour. The differences between the two camps are now out in the open and it will be interesting to see how Congress wrestles its way through it.