Karnataka Congress president D.K. Shivakumar on Thursday sought to dismiss reports of infighting in the party and his rivalry with Siddaramaiah over the Chief Minister’s post and said that the party leadership would reward “loyalty and hard work.”
In an exclusive interview with NDTV, Shivakumar said, “I have been a loyal party man, never betrayed the party… We will deliver Karnataka, then we leave it to the high command. High command has always stood by the people who stand by the party. We believe in them. I have confidence in our leadership.”
The 60-year-old leader, who is seen as a trouble-shooter for the party, said that he has worked day and night to revive the party’s fortune in the State. “I have not slept, and travelled every nook and corner of the State and taken all along. We have built a strong organisation and a united front against the BJP,” Shivakumar said.
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Asked about his rift with another party veteran Siddaramaiah, Shivakumar claimed that they are working together to revive the party. He blamed the BJP and a section of the media for spreading rumours about them. “We are all together. We have a common goal of defeating the BJP and restoring the dignity of Karnataka,” he said.
However, Siddaramaiah is considered as the front-runner for the CM post in the event of Congress forming the government. But Shivakumar too nurses chief ministerial ambitions. There seems to be a game of political one-upmanship between the two leaders as the election nears.
There is a palpable tension within the party over the vertical division that has been created between the camps of the two leaders and its adverse impact on the prospects of the party in the polls.
Though both of them have on record maintained that the CM will be decided by party’s newly elected MLAs and high command, their loyalists are hellbent on projecting their respective leader as the next CM, making things messy.
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The fight for the Chief Minister’s post in Congress is intensifying day by day in Karnataka as the polls draw closer. Apart from Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, there are M.B. Patil (Lingayat), Satish Jarkiholi (ST), G. Parameshwar (Dalit) and Zameer Ahmed Khan (Muslim) who have also thrown their hats into the ring.
Story first published: Thursday, April 6, 2023, 17:43 [IST]