K’taka Cong infighting: Dalit CM demand raised to checkmate Dy CM Shivakumar

Insight Online News

Bengaluru, March 9 : Just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, infighting in the Congress has come to the fore in Karnataka following a demand being raised for a Dalit Chief Minister.

Party sources said that the demand was made to checkmate all attempts by Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress President, DK Shivakumar, to stake claim to the CM’s post for a 2.5-year term.

Dy CM Shivakumar’s camp is in a jubilant mood following the quashing of the ED case against him by the Supreme Court.

The crowd is already raising “DK Shivakumar future CM” slogans much to the chagrin of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his camp.

Sources said that it is almost certain that Dy CM Shivakumar will stake claim for the CM’s post and in an attempt to avoid any such development, the close associates of CM Siddaramaiah, who are Cabinet ministers, have raised the demand for a Dalit CM if there is a change of guard in the state.

Minister for Cooperation, KN Rajanna and Minister for Social Welfare, Dr HC Mahadevappa have voiced their support for a Dalit CM for Karnataka.

Senior Congress leaders explained that undoubtedly, Dy CM Shivakumar has gained an upper hand following the quashing of the ED case against him.

The CM Siddaramaiah camp, that always maintained that Dy CM Shivakumar could be put behind bars at any time and that would cause irreparable damage to the party, has now lost its main defence.

Significantly, CM Siddaramaiah had not given a Cabinet berth to the leader during his first tenure in 2013 for two years by citing graft charges. However, Dy CM Shivakumar has always maintained that there were no corruption charges against him and he was charged with money laundering.

Following the quashing of the ED case, CM Siddaramaiah can’t play the corruption card now, sources said.

Another close associate of Dy CM Shivakumar said that the leader’s commitment to the party even after he was jailed and his stand to remain in the Congress party will bear fruit for him now.

Former CM, BS Yediyurappa had made an open offer on the floor of the House to him by stating that he would never become the CM if he remained in the Congress party.

Dy CM Shivakumar had stated then that he was given two choices, one to join the BJP and another to go to prison and he chose the latter.

Dy CM Shivakumar’s camp also explained that south Karnataka districts, considered as the bastion of the Vokkaliga community shifted towards the Congress party as Dy CM Shivakumar was projected as one of the CM candidates.

Dy CM Shivakumar has taken the Lok Sabha elections seriously and it is going to be another litmus test for him. If he gets the desired results, he is going to stake claim for the CM’s post authoritatively, sources said.

Political analyst Rudrappa Channabasappa told IANS that following the quashing of the ED’s case, Dy CM Shivakumar has got a shot in the arm to claim the CM’s post.

Two weeks ago Congress MP, DK Suresh, maintained that his brother Dy CM Shivakumar was going to become the CM.

However, CM Siddaramaiah, known for his political strategies, is not likely to leave the chair. His camp maintains that he commands the support of a majority of Congress MLAs.

CM Siddaramaiah had recently proclaimed that he would be the CM for the full term of five years.

Minister Rajanna had already stated he can’t be treated as a slave by the high command. It is being considered as a subtle warning to the top leadership not to disturb CM Siddaramaiah, sources said.

The high command, which is in no mood to lose one of the most prosperous and important states, is concerned about the developments.

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