Bengaluru: In his most direct threat yet to coalition partner Congress, Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Monday said he was ready to step down if the party does not control its MLAs.
The blunt statement came after Congress’ C Puttaranga Shetty, a minister in the state government, said that for him, Siddaramaiah was still the chief minister.
In response, Kumaraswamy warned that the Congress members were now crossing a line. “Congress leaders have to take care of these issues. I'm not the concerned person for it. If they want to continue with this, I'm ready to step down. They're crossing a line... Congress leaders must control their MLAs,” the CM said.
Denying that there was any trouble, Siddaramaiah said he will speak to Kumaraswamy to clear the air. "You (media) are the people who create trouble. You ask one person, then second person and then third person. There is no trouble," he told reporters.
MLAs belonging to the Siddaramaiah camp had attacked the CM on Sunday, saying that no development work had taken place in the state despite the government now being seven months old.
This attack comes at a time when allegations are emerging that the recent trouble in the Karnataka Congress was engineered by Siddaramaiah.
Apart from Shetty, who declared that he still considers Siddaramaiah as his CM, Congress MLA ST Somashekhar said that had Siddaramaiah got another five-year term, the state would have seen “real development”.
Speaking at the event, Siddaramaiah claimed his political rivals had plotted his defeat in the last year’s elections, and that he would have completed the development work in the state had he been elected for another term.
“They indulged in a smear campaign and engineered by defeat as they were jealous of me,” he said.
While Kumaraswamy reacted angrily, his father and JD(S) president HD Deve Gowda termed the issue as a matter of “difference of opinion” in coalition politics. He said it was natural to have this difference of opinion and that he would pay no heed to it.
“I choose not to react to this. These things happen when you are coalition politics,” he said.