New Delhi: The political rivalry between former chief minister Siddaramaiah and his successor H.D. Kumaraswamy is creating hurdles in the new-found political bonhomie between the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD (S).
Less than a month after Kumaraswamy took over the reins of power, Siddaramaiah has thrown a spanner in the works. The trigger is the forthcoming state budget which is expected to announce a farm loan waiver.
“The Congress party is worried about consistent public statements being made by Siddaramaiah against the alliance government and mostly directed towards the chief minister. This concerns us but for now we are adopting a wait and watch policy," a senior Congress leader said requesting anonymity.
Siddaramaiah has, on multiple occasions, said that since the Congress has already presented a full fledged budget in February, his successor can present a supplementary with new schemes, if any, including the farm loan waiver. He also expressed doubts over how long the alliance would last.
Alliance leaders rejected Siddaramaiah’s claims. While JD(S) chief H.D. Deve Gowda cited parliamentary precedence to counter Siddaramaiah’s suggestion of a supplementary budget, deputy chief minister G. Parameshwara said the alliance government would complete a five-year term, adding that all other talk was “irrelevant", according to PTI.
Senior party leaders, however, feel that they will not intervene immediately as it could give political ammunition to their political rivals.
“Siddaramaiah is a senior leader and the party holds him in high regard. However, having once been a part of JD(S), he has age-old rivalries with them. He was the chief minister and now the chief of the coordination committee—there is no bigger post that the party can give him in the state. We are assessing the situation for now," another Congress leader said requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, at least six more Congress legislators from Karnataka rushed to Mangaluru on Wednesday to meet Siddaramaiah, who is currently at a nature cure hospital, taking the number of party visitors to over 30 and prompting speculation of a growing alternative power centre within the coalition government.
Though most of the legislators maintain that their visits are purely to inquire about the former chief minister’s health, some sections within the party say that these visits are a show of strength by Siddaramaiah.
Many senior party members believe there is not much to these meetings but add that any move that is seen as opposing the high command’s view would be dealt with an “iron hand".