The race seems to be already building up in Karnataka Congress as to who will be the Chief Ministerial face during the next Assembly poll that is two years away, with some legislators projecting their leaders, prompting the party’s State unit chief D K Shivakumar to issue a diktat against it. While a section of party leaders is pitching for the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah for the Chief Minister’s post for the polls due in 2023, some are backing Shivakumar.
Reacting to Chamarajpet legislator B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan’s repeated statements projecting Siddaramaiah as the “next Chief Minister”, Shivakumar on Saturday said the party would go to polls under a collective leadership, and everyone have been asked to “stay within limits”. Projecting Siddaramaiah by a section of leaders seems to have not gone well with Shivakumar, who is also nursing ambitions to become the Chief Minister, party sources said.
Despite the diktat from the KPCC president, Koppal MLA Raghavendra Hitnal on Sunday said not only Zameer Ahmed Khan but also many other leaders, including him and “most importantly the people of the State,” want Siddaramaiah as the next Chief Minister.”
“It is the feeling among common people that in this COVID situation if Siddaramaiah was the Chief Minister he would have managed the situation better by implementing the right programmes. As the present government has failed, people are voicing their opinion in the media, twitter and Facebook that Siddaramaiah should be the next Chief Minister,” Hitnal said.
“Shivakumar has said what he has to say as the party president, and in the interest of the party, but what we are saying is people in rural areas and across the State are of this opinion. It is the voice of the people that Siddaramaiah should become the next Chief Minister and I too support it,” he said.
Khan, who has been openly referring to Siddaramaiah as the “future CM”, has even offered to vacate his Chamarajpet seat in the city in favour of the former Chief Minister, who currently represents Badami segment in north Karnataka. On the other hand, there was a tweet from Karnataka Congress official Twitter handle, last month, stating that the COVID-19 pandemic would have been under control if Shivakumar was the Chief Minister, which is said to have enraged the Siddaramaiah camp.
With growing political one-upmanship between the two leaders, the issue may become contentious in the days to come for the Congress, party sources said. Siddaramaiah had earlier headed the Congress government between 2013-18, in which Shivakumar, who is often referred as the party’s “trouble-shooter,” was a Minister.
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