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Will the main ministerial ambitions of Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar hurt the Congress in the Karnataka elections?

Karnataka’s congressional unity is split, with one half demanding that Siddaramaiah be reappointed chief minister and the other half supporting DK Shivakumar. Amid the power struggle between the two rulers, a new name emerged – SR Patil. So, who will it be for the Grand Old Party?

Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar are locked in a power struggle in Karnataka, with the two engaging in a game of one-upmanship. PTI

Karnataka Assembly elections are nine months away, but the Congress State Unit is already seeing chaos on the chief ministerial face.

Congress is on the brink of implosion, as its top state leaders play a game of one-upmanship to fill the prime minister’s chair should the party take power.

The party is already split into two camps – one group backing former chief minister Siddaramaiah and the other in favor of party state chairman DK Shivakumar’s candidacy for the top job.

If that wasn’t enough, former Karnataka Chief Minister M Veerappa Moily added to the chaos by throwing SR Patil’s name into the fray.

We take a look at the squabbles taking place within Karnataka’s Congress unity and how it could dash their hopes in the upcoming elections.

DK Shivakumar vs Siddaramaiah

A virtual split has been caused within the Karnataka unit of the Congress, with one half demanding that Siddaramaiah be reappointed as Chief Minister and the others giving their support to DK Shivakumar.

Reacting earlier to BZ MP Zameer Ahmed Khan’s remark that the people of the state wanted Siddaramaiah to be the next chief minister, Shivakumar asked everyone to “keep your mouth shut and work to bring the party in power”.

“I will only talk about those who are at my level. Everyone should shut up and work to bring the party to power,” Shivakumar told reporters.

Asked if the comment was aimed directly at Khan, Shivakumar, the MP for Kanakapura constituency in Ramanagara, replied: “I tell everyone. First you bring the party to power, first you attract people from all communities to the party, and you first organize your community. As a leader, if you care about the party, stop worshiping individuals and bring people into the party.

Shivakumar also played the community card and enlisted the support of the Vokkaliga community to rally behind him.

In mid-July, at a Vokkaliga convention held in Bengaluru, the President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress (KPCC) reportedly said, “I encountered difficulties, faced them and never bothered anyone. . Your community has another opportunity after SM Krishna. I won’t tell you who has this opportunity, it’s in your hands to save and nurture it.

The Vokkaliga community, which makes up around 15% of Karnataka’s population, is known to be a key support base of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and his Janata Dal (secular) son HD Kumaraswamy. Political observers report that there is a growing sense that the community could back Congress if there is a chance that Shivakumar will be the next chief minister.

Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah supporters are pulling out all the stops to prepare to celebrate his 75th birthday on August 3, highlighting his achievements as chief minister from 2013 to 2018.

The event, which will be held in Davangere, is called ‘Siddaramotsava’ and is seen by many as a show of support for Siddaramaiah.

In fact, Siddaramaiah made it clear that the event was as much about politics as it was about celebrating his life’s accomplishments.

In a report published in the Indian Express, he reportedly said, “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 years of political tenure? Isn’t the reminder of my political career a policy? That’s where we can’t do anything without politics.

SR Patil in the fray

Amid the ongoing struggle in Karnataka Congress unity, a third name has emerged in the race for the top job.

Senior Congressman and former Chief Minister Veerappa Moily presented SR Patil as an ideal candidate for the 2023 Assembly elections. Praising Patil as an honest and respectful leader, Moily said he was a person capable of being an ideal chief minister.

“SR Patil is a statesman and an ideal candidate. I had also suggested his name for the position of Karnataka Congress President in the past. He is a person capable of being an ideal chief minister. He was always honest and respectful. »

Veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, is also believed to be in the running for the post of chief minister.

The next Karnataka Legislative Assembly election is expected to be held no later than May 2023 to elect the 224 members of the State Legislative Assembly.

With contributions from agencies

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