DKS-Siddaramaiah’s supremacy tussle may derail Congress prospects | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The ongoing cold war between state Congress president DK Shivakumar and opposition leader Siddaramaiah to establish their supremacy with an eye on the chief minister’s post is threatening to dent the party’s prospects in the 2023 assembly elections.
The dissent was more evident after the Mysuru mayoral elections where the Congress joined hands with the JD(S) despite Siddaramaiah’s disapproval. Shivakumar is learnt to have struck a deal with former CM HD Kumaraswamy through former minister Tanveer Sait. Siddaramaiah wanted the Congress to be neutral after JD(S) refused to give the mayor’s post as per the agreement.
The development has left Siddaramaiah fuming, besides throwing an opportunity for his loyalists like HC Mahadevappa and KR Rameshkumar to regroup and rally behind the former CM.
They have reportedly been demanding action against Sait for going against the party’s decision. It also resulted in Sait openly questioning the former CM’s stand in the mayoral election. “I’ve stopped BJP from coming to power. Is it my fault? Is it not in the interest of Congress,” Sait had asked.
Eye on CM post
Many party insiders see it as the beginning of a power struggle between the seniors. “The cold war is coming out in the open. You will see it intensifying as elections approach because both want to become the CM,” said a senior functionary.
It’s not that the duo had no differences earlier, but now the frequency has increased, sources said, adding the Mysuru incident is the third one in less than a month where the duo locked horns.
During elections of the party youth wing, Siddaramaiah had backed Raksha Ramaiah’s candidature for the president’s post while Shivakumar supported Mohammed Nalpad. Nalpad was disqualified despite getting the highest number of votes for having criminal cases pending against him.
Shivakumar is still trying to prevail upon the high command to get Nalpad’s disqualification withdrawn, sources said.
Both were at opposite ends when Siddaramaiah decided to hold Ahinda conventions which many feel the former CM uses as a trump card to further his political interests.
Shivakumar and many veterans, including opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, reportedly opposed it, forcing Siddaramaiah to approach former party chief Rahul Gandhi for permission, but in vain. It was only after this, the duo planned a joint tour of constituencies where the Congress lost in 2018. Already their supporters, including a few MLAs, have started calling them future CMs, creating an uneasy atmosphere within the party. At a programme last week, MLA Zameer Ahmed said he wanted to see Siddaramaiah as the CM again.
Shivakumar, who was present there, claimed he’s more interested in building the party and bringing it back to power, than nursing the ambition of becoming CM. Some functionaries see nothing uncommon in the development and feel when two popular leaders are at the helm of affairs, one-upmanship is bound to happen. “In politics, such developments are quite common. The high command will step in at the right time and set thing]s,” one of them said.

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Sagar Biswas

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