Tussle between DKS and Siddaramaiah crosses party lines and takes caste colour within BJP ranks

Two Vokkaligas and one Kuruba BJP leaders take to twitter to spar over Siddaramaiah

May 17, 2023 12:01 pm | Updated 10:07 pm IST - BENGALURU

A file photo of Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah with Karnataka Congress chief D.K. Shivakumar at Chamundeshwari temple, in Mysuru

A file photo of Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah with Karnataka Congress chief D.K. Shivakumar at Chamundeshwari temple, in Mysuru


The ongoing tussle for the Chief Minister’s post between Congress leaders D.K. Shivakumar, who belongs to the Vokkaliga community, and Siddaramaiah, who hails from the Kuruba community, has crossed party lines and taken caste colour within the BJP ranks.

On Wednesday, two Vokkaliga BJP leaders attacked Mr. Siddaramaiah while a Kuruba leader of the saffron party stood by him in a Twitter war. All three were earlier with the Congress and were seen as close associates of Mr. Siddaramaiah. They were among the 17 MLAs who defected to the BJP in “Operation Kamala”, leading to the fall of the Congress-JDS coalition government in 2019.

Dr. K. Sudhakar and S.T. Somashekhar took to Twitter and blamed the former Chief Minister for them quitting the Congress. At the same time, MTB Nagaraj, who belongs to the Kuruba community, strongly stood behind Mr. Siddaramaiah by terming the allegations of the former two as false.

Leaders say they were ‘pushed’

In separate tweets, Mr. Sudhakar and Mr. Somashekhar, who went on to become Ministers after joining the BJP, suggested that Mr. Siddaramaiah’s stand against the then coalition government pushed them towards deciding to quit the Congress.

Mr. Sudhakar, who lost the Assembly elections this time, tweeted, “During the JD (S)-Congress coalition government in 2018, whenever MLAs went to the then Coordination Committee Chairman Siddaramaiah with their concerns, he used to express his helplessness and say that he has no say in the government and his constituency/district itself works are stalled.”

He went on to say, “Further, Siddaramaiah used to assure MLAs to wait till 2019 Lok Sabha polls and come what may he won’t allow H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition government to continue.”

He claimed that it “inevitably” pushed some of them to quit Congress and go back to the people in by-polls. “Can Siddaramaiah deny the fact that he had a role, implicitly or explicitly, in the move of Congress MLAs?” he asked.

In a similar vein, former Co-operation Minister S.T. Somashekhar, who has now been re-elected as MLA from the Yeshwantpur constituency, said, “Despite being the chairman of the coordination committee, Siddaramaiah always expressed his helplessness to address the concerns of MLAs during the Congress-JD (S) coalition government. No one can deny the truth that this pushed some of us to quit the party.”

Strong rebuttal

Replying strongly to his two party colleagues, Mr. Nagaraj tweeted that Mr. Sudhakar had made such remarks against Mr. Siddaramaiah “out of frustration after losing the Assembly polls.”

Describing Sudhakar’s allegations against Mr. Siddaramaiah as “far from true”, he wondered why Mr. Sudhakar kept quiet all these days if his allegations were true. He challenged Mr. Sudhakar to swear in the name of his family deity that Mr. Siddaramaiah had a role in they quitting the Congress.

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