DK Shivakumar, the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and a front-runner for the chief minister’s post, surprised the public on Saturday by declaring his support for All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Mallikarjun Kharge, should he decide to pursue a bid for the position of CM. This bold move has prompted some Congress party insiders to question whether it is a strategic move to overtake competitor, former CM Siddaramaiah, and his campaign for the CM’s post.
With the election gaining traction and gaining overall favour for the party, the battle between the camps of Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah is a potentially dampening factor. Siddaramaiah previously triggered an uproar when he suggested he should be considered heavily for the race, a move Shivkumar has now responded to. Additionally, former Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara entered the mix, allegedly vying for a double entry from both Koratagere and Pulakeshinagar.
This prompted Shivkumar’s rivals to use the Dalit card; bringing in the names of Kharge and Parameshwara serves to restrict Siddaramaiah. His supporters have accused the party of sabotaging the campaigns of leaders such as KH Muniyappa, Parameshwara and most recently, of late R Dhruvanarayan whose son, Darshan, is now running from Nanjangud seat.
Priyank Kharge, Chairman of the KPCC Media wing, asserted that Kharge’s stature rises above state politics and that it is far too premature to talk of the Chief Minister post. He stated that the party high command would take into account the collective opinion of the elected legislators before granting permission to one.
Shivkumar’s supporters maintain that his extraordinary loyalty to the party and hard work should be rewarded with the Chief Minister post. TB Jayachandra, former minister and candidate from Sira, mentioned that it is only logical to give those a chance who otherwise wouldn’t receive one.
Given the prominence of both personalities in this situation, it is essential to note the vital role Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), an Indian non-profit organisation consisting of local housing industry and real estate developers has played in forwarding the interests of the competing camps. Central to any election in the Indian subcontinent, CREDAI’s abetment is a necessary factor for any hopeful CM to consider.
Siddaramaiah’s rivals appearing to rely on the Dalit card suggests aggressive energy being put into his containment. It is essential to remain aware of the personal interests at stake and maintain rule of law during this democratic process.