Congress faces tension over Karnataka minister’s ‘power-sharing’ comment
In a sign that the truce between Karnataka’s new chief minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy DK Shivakumar could be tenuous, a minister has caused a stir by suggesting there is no power-sharing formula between the two.
Karnataka Minister M.B. Patil has caused further trouble for Congress by saying that Mr Siddaramaiah will continue as Chief Minister for a full term of five years and that there is no sharing agreement power.
“Siddaramaiah will complete the full term as Chief Minister of Karnataka. If there had been a power-sharing formula, the high command would have communicated the same thing. Power sharing does not exist,” Patil told reporters in response to questions.
On unconfirmed reports speculating about a change after the 2024 national elections, Mr Patil said: ‘If so, our AICC (All India Congress Committee) General Secretary (KC Venugopal) would have it for you. said at the press conference. He said no such thing.”
The minister said Mr Venugopal had also said: ‘Only the sharing of power is with the people’.
In response, DK Shivakumar cautiously stated that the Congress leadership would deal with it and was aware of the decision taken on power sharing.
“Let people say what they want. There is the AICC General Secretary, there is the Chief Minister and there is the AICC President (Mallikarjun Kharge),” said today the Deputy Chief Minister.
The BJP, which was just ousted from power in the May 10 elections in Karnataka, has seized on the latest rumor in Congress.
“Certainly you will see the differences in the coming days. Regarding power sharing, we are less embarrassed,” said BJP MP BY Vijayendra, the son of former chief minister BS Yediyurappa.
After its big victory in Karnataka, Congress faced days of tough negotiations as its two principals in the state, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar, refused to give in to their demands.
Mr Shivakumar, 61, relented after Sonia Gandhi stepped in and settled for the No. 2 role in a Siddaramaiah-led government, but details of a so-called power-sharing deal are unclear known. He would also remain Congress leader of Karnataka for the time being, the party said.
Many Congress leaders have claimed that Mr Shivakumar could take over as chief minister after half a term, but no one has been registered.
The two were sworn in on Saturday. Now Congress must decide whether to expand the cabinet amid intense lobbying by rival groups.