As DKS cooled heels in Tihar, much changed in Congress

Last Updated : 24 October 2019, 20:12 IST

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Much has happened within the Congress while former minister D K Shivakumar, the party’s “trouble shooter”, was incarcerated for 50 days.

Shivakumar, who is now out on bail, will walk into a party in which power equations have changed.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah, who is not seen as Shivakumar’s friend, has been appointed as the Leader of the Opposition, a position Shivakumar had expressed interest in. That the two do not get along too well is well known. In fact, Shivakumar had told DH that it was Siddaramaiah who stonewalled his entry into the Cabinet when the Congress was in power.

The Congress, which is gearing up for the crucial December 5 bypolls, lacks clarity on the role Shivakumar can play going forward. A sense of this was seen in Siddaramaiah’s answer when asked about Shivakumar’s role during the bypolls: “Shivakumar is an important leader of our party. Any position that he should get will be decided by the high command.”

There is talk within party circles, however, that the high command will continue to back Shivakumar. It was Shivakumar, after all, who was their Man Friday all these years. In his own words, Shivakumar said he “took risks,” all for the party’s sake.

In 2017, when his troubles began with I-T raids, Shivakumar was safeguarding over 40 party MLAs from Gujarat in a resort outside Bengaluru to keep them from being poached ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls then. As a result, Gandhi family loyalist Ahmed Patel was elected, further cementing Shivakumar’s rapport with the high command.

Vokkaliga votes

The Congress and the JD(S) may still look to consolidate the Vokkaligas against the BJP on the back of Shivakumar, who belongs to the dominant community. “It goes without saying that he has gained some sympathy within the community. But how he conducts himself going forward will be important,” a Congress leader said, adding that this will determine the fate of his chief ministerial ambition.

Published 24 October 2019, 17:07 IST

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