Siddaramaiah, DKS are not on the same page over caste census: Eshwarappa

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj K.S. Eshwarappa and Minister for Social Welfare and Backward Classes Kota Srinivas Poojary at a cycle jatha to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday in Mysuru on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

BJP leader K.S. Eshwarappa on Sunday claimed that Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President D.K. Shivakumar were not on the same page on the contentious issue of caste census in the State.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru after participating in a cycle jatha in Mysuru organised by the party’s Backward Classes Morcha to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday, Mr. Eshwarappa, who is also the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, said the two Congress leaders were squabbling with each other and the party will split into two before the next elections to the State Assembly.

Mr. Siddaramaiah had, for long, been batting for submission of the Caste Census report to the State government by the Karnataka State Permanent Backward Classes Commission. Though the census was carried out during his regime as Chief Minister, the report was not submitted as Mr. Siddaramaiah has been claiming that it was not ready till he demitted office in 2018. He has also been accusing JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy of refusing to accept the report on the caste census when he subsequently took over as Chief Minister of the coalition government.

Mr. Eshwarappa sought to know the reason behind the Congress remaining silent on the issue in the recent Legislature session. He claimed that Mr. Shivakumar had reportedly issued a diktat to the party leaders that the issues relating to caste census should not be raised by anybody till a committee constituted under the chairmanship of former Chief Minister M. Veerappa Moily studies the matter and submits a report to the party leadership.

The BJP leader questioned Mr. Siddaramaiah’s commitment to backward classes by asking why as the chief of the coordination committee of Congress-JD (S) coalition government he did not withdraw support to the H.D. Kumaraswamy government when the latter refused to accept the caste census report.

Mr. Eshwarappa said the Congress party was only using the backward classes and Dalits as ‘political’ pawns for the sake of power. The backward classes and Dalits had extended support to the BJP, which saw the party securing 25 out of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the State, he said.

Though the backward classes and Dalits had rejected the Congress, Mr. Siddaramaiah was making efforts to win them over by holding their rallies in different parts of the State while ‘dreaming’ of becoming a Chief Minister again. Meanwhile, Mr. Shivakumar is also hoping to become the Chief Minister and was making efforts to lure BJP MLAs into the Congress fold.

“Let there be no doubt that the Congress party will split into two before next Assembly elections. I don’t think one needs to even wait for one-and-a-half years for that to happen”, he said while referring to the rivalry within the Congress party over the leadership issue.

Minister for Social Welfare and Backward Classes Kota Srinivas Poojary was also present on the occasion.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 4:55:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/siddaramaiah-dks-are-not-on-the-same-page-over-caste-census-eshwarappa/article36808734.ece

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