Leader of the Opposition in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah and state Congress president D K Shivakumar, in a meeting with Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, were told that the party will not project a chief ministerial candidate for the 2023 Assembly elections.
According to a report by The Indian Express, the party’s top brass asked both of them to work unitedly and focus on winning the elections.
DK Shivakumar in a statement on Wednesday dismissed rumours of power tussle between him and Siddaramaiah. “There is no problem in Karnataka (Congress) and there will be only one thing that will be a collective leadership. No CM face will be announced. I don’t have any rift with anyone except political differences with BJP and JDS," he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah on Tuesday had denied all claims of conflict with Shivakumar.
“We are together. We’re building the party together. There’s no rift in Karnataka Congress and the party will come back to power. Why should there be a rift? We are fighting against the corruption of BJP,” Siddaramaiah said.
Former CM was in Delhi on Tuesday following a call from the party high command. Sources said that the meeting was also regarding the appointment of office-bearers and strategies for the upcoming Assembly elections in 2023.
“I am in Delhi because Rahul Gandhi wanted to meet me by 4’o clock today, this is what KC Venugopal told me. I don’t know what subject matter he is going to discuss,” Congress leader Siddaramaiah said. “There is no rift…I have no problem with any leader. We want to prepare to help people to throw this Govt out of power…this meeting had nothing to do with constituency or power," he added.
Congress leader’s Delhi visit assumes significance as a section of MLAs and leaders including Chickpet MLA B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan and Kampli MLA J N Ganesh are openly backing him to lead the state in the event of the Congress getting majority in 2023 polls.
On Monday, Siddaramaiah in a response to a question whether the party was ready in case the BJP is unable to handle its internal crisis, said “Congress is ready to face elections at any point of time. I don’t feel that an early election will take place because if Yediyurappa is removed, another person will be made the Chief Minister.”
The Congress Legislature Party leader’s comments come at a time when an audio clip has surfaced, fuelling a new round of speculation on whether replacing the 78 year-old Chief Minister is on the cards.