Both ex-CM Siddaramaiah and KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar want to be the CM face in 2023.


New Delhi: As the two prominent leaders in the Karnataka Congress, former Chief Minister of the state Siddaramaiah, and KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar, are trying to increase their clout within the party, the rift behind the curtains has also been increasing, for both the leaders want to be the CM face in the 2023 Assembly elections. The party has been frequently keeping the state in check as the high command is wary of a Punjab-like situation where the Sidhu-Channi dispute had taken a toll on the party and become a prime cause for its loss.
According to sources in the party, Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala comes thrice a month to talk to party leaders and oversee developments within the party in the state and has also been putting a lot of pressure on the two leaders to work in unison.
Party leaders believe that the two camps are against each other and both the camps want their leader to be the CM face. “The way they have been coming together nowadays is because of Rahul Gandhi’s intervention,” a party leader said. To further ease tensions, Rahul Gandhi has invited Siddaramaiah and D.K. Shivakumar to Delhi on 2 June, when Rahul Gandhi will assess the progress and will also push both the leaders to contain their aspirations and not to damage the party.
However, K.R. Ramesh Kumar, sitting MLA from Srinivasapura constituency Kolar, said, “The party is virtually doing nothing; no efforts are being made to strengthen organisational network at the booth level and district level.”
Dinesh Gundu Rao, MLA from Gandhinagar constituency Bangalore, Karnataka, told The Sunday Guardian, “The party is united, every political party has some difference of opinion among the leaders, but that doesn’t mean there’s a major problem and I am sure all the things will be worked out and there will be no problem. And I don’t see anything Punjab-like situation happening in Karnataka.”
The party is also careful about its decreasing appeal among the masses as its internal survey has shown only 35% of people electorally accepting the party while the remaining 65% are complacent with the BJP. According to party functionaries, the grand old party wants to put special focus on the state as Rahul Gandhi is setting plans to win 150 seats and had told its top leadership in the state earlier that if Mallikarjun Kharge, Siddaramaiah, D.K. Shivakumar and B.K. Hariprasad work together, then the number of 150 seats is not impossible to reach.
Saurabh Suman, a political analyst in Karnataka, said, “Both the leaders are keeping well but there is an internal race among both for who will become the CM face. Taking in people’s views, their apparent choice seems to be Siddaramaiah and not Shivakumar. There is good public support that Siddaramaiah enjoys, but the party workers are not active and they themselves don’t believe that they are going to win.”