Karnataka Congress in-charge KC Venugopal on Monday asked the party to send a show cause notice to Congress MLA ST Somashekhar, seeking a clarification on his remarks that Siddaramaiah, the current Congress Legislature Party chief, was “still their chief minister”.
Venugopal’s direction came soon after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said the state Congress MLAs “were crossing the line”, threatening to resign, a move that would lead the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka to collapse.
“…If they (Congress MLAs) want to continue with the same thing, I am ready to step down. They are crossing the line,” Kumaraswamy said. “Congress leaders have to oversee all those issues. I’m not the concerned person for it. Congress leaders must control their MLAs.”
#WATCH: Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy says “…If they want to continue with the same thing, I am ready to step down. They are crossing the line”, when asked ‘Congress MLAs are saying that Siddaramaiah is their CM’.’ pic.twitter.com/qwErh4aEq4
— ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2019
However, Deputy Chief Minister G Parmeshwara defended the Karnataka Congress MLA who made the remark, saying that considering Siddaramaiah their leader was just an opinion. “Siddaramaiah has been the best chief minister. He is our CLP (Congress Legislature Party) leader. For the MLA, he is the chief minister. He has expressed his opinion. What is wrong in that? We are all happy with him (Kumaraswamy),” Parmeshwara said. In response, Siddaramaiah said, “(The media) are the people who create trouble. (They) ask one person, then second person and then third person. There is no trouble, I will speak to Kumaraswamy,” according to ANI.
Former Karnataka CM & Congress leader Siddaramaiah on ‘Congress MLAs say Siddaramaiah is their leader’: You (media) are the people who create trouble. You ask one person, then second person and then third person. There is no trouble, I will speak to HD Kumaraswamy pic.twitter.com/Be7letrUrQ — ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2019
The rift between the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) has been evident for months, and there has been speculation over how long the coalition government would survive in Karnataka. Also, amid the power play between Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah, there have been rumours that the BJP was trying to play this discord to its advantage and poach Congress MLAs.
In August, Siddaramaiah had announced he would like to be chief minister again. “I want to become the chief minister and I will. Many of my adversaries ganged up against me after the 2018 Assembly polls. Hence, I couldn’t get the post… But politics is not stagnant. It will keep changing,” he was quoted as saying by reports.
The Congress had downplayed the statement and said, “We were confident before the Assembly polls that Siddaramaiah would become chief minister again, but then the party lost the elections. There is nothing wrong in him saying he will become chief minister again. It doesn’t mean he plans to unsettle the Kumaraswamy government to accomplish his goal,” Revenue Minister RV Deshpande was quoted as saying by the Deccan Chronicle.
The first signs of discord appeared in June, barely a month after the coalition government was formed. Siddaramaiah had expressed his displeasure over Kumaraswamy’s decision to present two full-fledged budgets.
With inputs from agencies
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