Karnataka

Battle of political wits between HDK and Siddaramaiah

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy with the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at the ‘Punyasmarane’ programme in Tumakuru on Thursday.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy with the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at the ‘Punyasmarane’ programme in Tumakuru on Thursday.  

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The two leaders drew metaphor from a Kannada film song in the slugfest

The war of words between two former Chief Ministers, H.D. Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah, appears to be picking up steam again as the byelections to 15 constituencies in the State are drawing close.

On Tuesday, Mr. Kumaraswamy continued his tirade against Mr. Siddaramaiah, accusing him of bringing down the coalition government.

“I did not become Chief Minister by Mr. Siddaramaiah’s grace. I know how intolerant he was about me becoming the Chief Minister. The Congress high command gave me the post. Mr. Siddaramaiah could not digest the decision. He had told his loyalists that he would not allow the government to survive for a second after the Lok Sabha polls. Otherwise this (coalition) government would not go,” he told reporters.

Challenging Mr. Siddaramaiah to come out of the Congress and build a regional party, Mr. Kumaraswamy said they had nurtured a regional political party despite all odds.

He accused Mr. Siddaramaiah of being petty while he was associated with the JD(S) before he joined the Congress in the 1990s. “He (Mr. Siddaramaiah) grew because of us. Let him build a party coming out of the Congress,” he said, adding that it was the people of Ramanagaram who gave him the strength to grow in State politics and he was “not a parrot nurtured by Mr. Siddaramaiah”.

Hitting back at Mr. Kumaraswamy in a series of tweets, Mr. Siddaramaiah said: “Even I grew because of people. Because people blessed me, I could become Chief Minister for five years. I did not occupy the place because of the mercy of any vulture or parrot.”

He was alluding to a popular Kannada song in which a well-nurtured parrot betrays and bites its owner like a vulture.

In another tweet, he challenged: “You became the Chief Minister by sitting on the shoulder of other parties. Will you ever become Chief Minister on your own?”

Saying that he had never claimed to have nurtured Mr. Kumaraswamy, he tweeted sarcastically: “H.D. Deve Gowda looked after you. However, you used people like us. You learnt the lesson of using and throwing people quickly. You ask Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, he will tell you.”

He was referring to the 20-20 arrangement between the BJP and the JD(S), which collapsed after the latter withdrew support in 2006.

A ruse to provoke?

The exchange between the two former Chief Ministers is being seen by a section of the Congress as a strategy of the JD(S) to “provoke” Mr. Siddaramaiah as both parties get into election mode.

Sources said that the attack on Mr. Siddaramaiah and his response is expected to consolidate Vokkaliga votes that the JD(S) is desperately trying to hold on to. “In the Vokkaliga heartland, the attack and counter response is seen seriously and the JD(S) wants to consolidate its vote by gaining sympathy. They want to tell the voter repeatedly that the Congress leader was responsible for the collapse of the coalition headed by a Vokkaliga,” sources said.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 3:42:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/battle-of-political-wits-between-hdk-and-siddaramaiah/article29502485.ece

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