Knives Out as Deve Gowda Says Siddaramaiah Plotted MLA Exodus, Rejects Cong Proposal to Bring Back ex-CM
Addressing the media on Sunday, Gowda alleged that the 14 Congress-JD(S) MLAs who had resigned the day before were supporters of Siddaramaiah.
File photo of JD(S) leader and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda. (Getty Images)
Bengaluru: The personal rivalry between Siddaramaiah and Gowdas is back to haunt the unstable coalition government in Karnataka with JD(S) chief Deve Gowda publicly accusing the former CM of orchestrating the current crisis in the state.
Addressing the media on Sunday, Gowda alleged that the 14 Congress-JD(S) MLAs who had resigned the day before were supporters of Siddaramaiah. “I know Siddaramaiah is behind the political turmoil in the state. Those who had resigned are his supporters,” the former PM said.
Gowda is believed to have repeated his allegation in a meeting later with Congress troubleshooter DK Shivakumar who informed him that disgruntled sections want Siddaramaiah to take over the CM’s chair from Gowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy. Shivakumar reportedly went as far as pitching it as the only solution to save the government.
Sources said Gowda rejected the proposal and even threatened to withdraw support if the Congress was adamant on bringing Siddaramaiah back as CM.
“Siddaramaiah is behind everything. The MLAs (who resigned) are his followers. He has been doing it ever since we formed the government. Even after knowing about his game plan, I will not let him become CM again. If that is your (Congress) proposal, then we will withdraw our support,” a source quoted Gowda as saying in the meeting.
Offering a compromise, Gowda reportedly said he can consider backing Mallikarjun Kharge for CM. While Kharge, a prominent Dalit face in the Congress, is said to be open to the idea, Siddaramaiah’s supporters are not likely to be on board.
The rivalry between Siddaramaiah and Gowdas dated back to 2005, when the former quit the JD(S) after a major public showdown Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy. Siddaramaiah had then vowed to decimate the JD(S) and joined the Congress.
Of the 14 rebel MLAs who are now watching the situation unfold from a Mumbai hotel, 11 are from the Congress while three are from the JD(S). Ramalinga Reddy and Ramesh Jarkiholi are leading the Congress rebels, while AH Vishwanath is leading the JD(S) trio.
Apart from Reddy, ST Somashekhar, Munirathna, Byrathi Basavaraj and Shivaram Hebbar are known to be staunch supporters of Siddaramaiah.
Siddaramaiah has reportedly asked Basavaraj and Munirathna to return from Mumbai, while HD Kumaraswamy who was on a week-long visit to the US is also set to return to Bengaluru on Sunday.
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