The state deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar has expressed his displeasure over the demand made by Karnataka cooperation minister KN Rajanna from the Siddaramaiah camp to appoint three deputy chief ministers in Karnataka. This has kicked off a controversy within the ruling party .
The state health minister Dinesh Gundu Rao entered the fray by praising Siddaramaiah’s performance and suggesting that he should continue as chief minister for the next five years, intensifying the controversy.
Roa said the Siddaramaiah is doing a good job and the decision on him continuing as chief minister for the next five years.
On Monday, DK Shivakumar, hinting displeasure, said that he’s pleased that an MLA has proposed having three deputy chief ministers.
Rajanna on September 16 suggested that the Congress high command consider appointing deputy chief ministers from three distinct communities: Veerashaiva-Lingayat, SC/ST, and minority communities.
“Everyone should be happy. I was appointed (as the deputy chief minister) by the chief minister on the advice of the governor. So, the chief minister should answer these questions,” said Shivakumar.
When questioned about why such controversies are arising just before the Lok Sabha elections, Shivakumar deflected the queries, insisting that they should be directed at the chief minister. “I don’t know why such proposals are coming up. You should ask the chief minister. Whoever (Rajanna) saying whatever (demand for three DyCM) should be asked this,” adding that in the past few days, he has been busy with strengthening the party, particularly in Telangana.
Party insiders have speculated that Rajanna’s controversial statement was in response to DK Shivakumar and his supporters remaining silent when senior leader BK Shivakumar made derogatory comments about chief minister Siddaramaiah on September 9. BK Shivakumar had insinuated that Siddaramaiah, who wears a Hublot watch and a dhoti, cannot truly claim to be a socialist leader.
When asked if Rajanna’s statement, coming from someone close to Siddaramaiah, is a response to the “Shivakumar faction” staying quiet during BK Hariprasad’s provocative statements against Siddaramaiah, DK Shivakumar denied the existence of any factions within the Congress party. “You have lost your mind. There are no factions in the party. In my entire career, I have not supported any factions either. I could have created so-called factions in my career but I only believe in the Congress faction,” said Shivakumar.
In response to media inquiries about cooperation minister Rajanna’s plan to write to the party’s High Command advocating for three deputy chief ministers, chief minister Siddaramaiah asserted that the high command had already determined that one deputy chief minister would suffice.
Regarding Rajanna’s suggestion to appoint three more deputy CMs from different communities, Siddaramaiah on September 17 indicated that the high command would make the final decision. “Ultimately, the high command will take a decision on it. He (Rajanna) has expressed only his opinion. The high command has already appointed one deputy CM saying one is enough. If Rajanna wants to discuss it with the high command, let him do it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Karnataka health minister Dinesh Gundu Rao weighed in, saying that the Congress high command would decide whether Siddaramaiah should serve as chief minister for the full five-year term. Rao commended Siddaramaiah’s performance. “Congress high command will decide whether CM Siddaramaiah will be CM for five years or not. He is doing good things, and we are all with CM Siddaramaiah,” he said.
Siddaramaiah was chosen as chief minister after a power struggle with Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar, following numerous meetings convened by the party’s high command. In May of this year, Karnataka Minister MB Patil had stated that Siddaramaiah would complete a full five-year term as chief minister, dismissing any proposals for power-sharing.