The party is witnessing bitter battles between the factions over chief ministership.
Bengaluru: The simmering tension between the warring factions of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will come to the fore as AICC general secretary Randeep Surjewala is arriving in Bengaluru on Monday to participate in the party’s Azadi Ki Amrutmohostav celebrations.
Sources in the Congress said that Surjewala’s visit was long overdue as the party is witnessing bitter battles between the factions over chief ministership. “Surjewala couldn’t make it to Siddaramaiah’s 75th birthday celebration in Davangere as he was traveling abroad. There are over a dozen petitions against Siddaramaiah’s aides, including Zameer Ahmed Khan and H.C. Mahadevappa, who have crossed the lakshman rehka. What we saw in Davangere, united show, was a hogwash and temporary truce between the Vokkaliga and Kuruba leaders to save Rahul Gandhi from embarrassment. Zameer hasn’t replied to the show cause notice yet and a strong message is needed to put party before self,’’ sources said.
Sources also said that Zameer was overzealously getting involved in the Idga Maindan issue and making statements that will damage prospects of the party in the long run even as BJP is mounting offensive on state Congress by toeing the hard-line of Hindutva.
“Almost on a daily basis, there is resistance and repulsive actions from Siddu’s faction, be it about any party programmes, protests or even Independence Day celebrations for that matter. D.K. Shivakuamar has expressed his unhappiness over the behaviour of Zameer and others to which Surjewala has supposedly told him to bring it up when the former is in Bengaluru,’’ sources said.
In Bengaluru, there is a fresh controversy brewing over Idgah Maidan in Zameer’s constituency. The controversial MLA who crossed over to Congress from JDS is in the eye of a storm for his remarks that has embarrassed the party on more than one occasion.
The Maidan issue has surfaced over who is the owner of the land. While the revenue department has claimed its ownership, Zamer has claimed to belong to the Muslim community as they pray during Eid.
It is said that Zameer’s followers have opposed hoisting of national flag and not allowing Hindus to Ganesha pendal this festival which has now become a flashpoint between the Hindu and Muslim groups.
Meanwhile, Revenue minister R. Ashok visited the grounds on Saturday and is overseeing arrangements to hoist the flag on 15 August. Speaking to media persons, he also said that since the land belongs to his department, the officials will decide what to allow and what not on the grounds. “As of now, we are allowing prayers twice a year for Muslims and this practice will continue, but there is no question of handing over the land permanently,’’ he said.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai also maintained the same, saying the law will take its own course.