Checkmate Siddaramaiah: Revealing CM goal, Shivakumar plays Vokkaliga shot

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Chairman DK Shivakumar often uses chess and football analogies to frame political scenes. In 2017, when he was not the head of the state Congress, Shivakumar said he could not get the job because he had played football, a mainly physical sport, rather than chess. a mental game.

“I know how to play chess,” Shivakumar had said before the Congress-Janata Dal (secular) coalition government collapsed in Karnataka in 2019.

By publishing his main ministerial aspiration this week, the head of the KPCC has made a remarkable step on the political spectrum before the State Assembly polls scheduled for May 2023.

“The time has come for the Vokkaliga community (the dominant community in South Karnataka to which he belongs) to elect a community leader after an 18-year hiatus,” Shivakumar said at a press conference in Mysuru on Tuesday. last. “I got to a certain stage. The Prime Minister is elected if Congress obtains a majority. I told my community that they should rally behind me,” he said. “Am I a sanyasi? he replied when pressed about his CM ambition.

While covering his personal ambition to become the CM with the interest of Congress returning to power, Shivakumar attempted to rally the support of the Vokkaligas for the big old party as they did in 1999 when SM Krishna, the political guru of Shivakumar, was the chairman of the KPCC. . He has thus also sent a clear signal to his rivals in Congress that he will be in the race for the CM if the party obtains a majority in the next elections.

The Vokkaliga community, which accounts for about 15% of Karnataka’s population, is known to be a key support base for former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and his JD(S) son HD Kumaraswamy. There seems to be a growing sense in state policy circles that

the community might support the Congress if they see the possibility of a Vokkaliga leader like Shivakumar becoming the next CM.

Shivakumar’s public statement came at a time when supporters of his arch rival in Congress and opposition leader in the State Assembly, Siddaramaiah, are doing their utmost to prepare for the 75th anniversary of this last on August 3, showcasing his accomplishments as a CM. during the period 2013-2018. Positioning himself to become the face of the party’s CM, Siddaramaiah, who belongs to the backward class Kuruba community, has reached out to traditional Congress voting bases that include the backward classes, Dalits and minorities.

Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah have publicly argued that the decision on the Congress CM to be made by the party leadership and MPs will only come into play after the party wins in the polls. The two congressional satraps, however, are known to be able to undermine each other on the field, which is a specter that haunts the party as it gears up for elections.

In Mysuru, Shivakumar referred to the Krishna case to argue that “the time has come after 18 years to elect a Vokkaliga leader from Congress as CM”.

A day later, he sought to temper his remarks, saying anyone can become a CM in Congress. “Sonia Gandhi appointed me chairman of KPCC. After 20 years, a leader of Vokkaliga took over. What’s wrong with asking people in the community for help. People in the community will also have respect for themselves. Now Dalits are demanding a Dalit CM for Karnataka, what is wrong with that,” he said.

A source in Shivakumar’s camp pointed out that he made these statements in the context of Siddaramaiah’s supporters projecting him as a face of CM. Shivakumar’s team decided that the KPCC leader should project himself as an aspiring CM in public, lest he risk losing in the race with other suitors overtaking him.

Former Karnataka President CM Siddaramaiah and KPCC Chairman DK Shivakumar during a press conference. (PTI, file)

For his part, Siddaramaiah made it clear that his 75th birthday party would be as much about politics as it was about celebrating his life’s achievements. “There will definitely be a political message (from the event), are we sanyasis? Is Rahul Gandhi or Shivakumar a sanyasi? It will be there. Doesn’t it list our accomplishments during our five-year term policy? Isn’t the reminder of my political career a policy? That’s where you can’t do anything without politics,” he said recently.

Shortly after Shivakumar played the Vokkaliga card, Kumaraswamy, who also belongs to the same community, reacted saying that it is “impossible” for the former to become the Congress CM. “Is Siddaramaiah celebrating his birthday to make Shivakumar the CM? There were many people in Congress who sacrificed for the party but didn’t get a chance to become CM because of Siddaramaiah. As he (Siddaramaiah) was previously with our party, I know him very well,” he said.

Chief Minister and top BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai said Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar are “world poles apart”. “Shivakumar harbors the dream of becoming the CM. Congress leaders do not even allow him to function as KPCC chairman. We observed the events in Congress,” he said.

The Karnataka Congress, which has a large number of prominent leaders from various communities, aims to return to power in the state in the 2023 elections.

Dalit leaders like Rajya Sabha opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who turned 80 on Thursday, are also believed to be vying for the post of CM. Kharge asked his supporters not to celebrate his birthday or commemorate his 50 years in politics. There has been a long standing request in Karnataka for a Dalit CM, which however has not come to fruition so far.

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