The Congress has censured yet another leader for speaking out against Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, in what looks like the grand old party’s crackdown on voices that could end up antagonizing its alliance partner, the JD(S).
Former minister Basavaraj Rayareddi got a rap from Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Wednesday. Rayareddi on Tuesday had chided Kumaraswamy for throwing tantrums, asking the chief minister why he suffered from “inferiority complex” and urged him to “show leadership” instead.
“I’ve seen Basavaraj Rayareddy’s statement. It’s completely inappropriate. I’ve spoken to him & have strictly told him to be careful with any future comments,” Rao tweeted Wednesday. “The Congress and the JD(S) are committed to work together and our goal is to see the end of this despotic rule of Mr Modi.”
On Monday, Kumaraswamy had threatened to resign after Congress legislators, including Cabinet ministers MTB Nagaraju and C Puttarangashetty, hailed Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah as their chief minister. Annoyed, Kumaraswamy cribbed that the Congress was “crossing the line” and asked the party to “control their MLAs.” This threat sent the Congress leadership into a tizzy and AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal intervened to soothe tempers.
Yeshwanthpur legislator ST Somashekhar was made to apologize for saying development had taken a beating under the Kumaraswamy administration and went a step further to taunt the JD(S) as a party that thrived on dynasty politics.
Rayareddi, who lost the Assembly elections earlier this year, defended Congress legislators. “What our MLAs said was correct. I also say that Siddaramaiah should become the chief minister again. He’s one of the best chief ministers Karnataka has had,” he had said.
JD(S) leaders, however, have stepped up the attack on the Congress ever since Kumaraswamy’s ‘I-am-ready-to-step-down’ threat. “Congress legislators have hit the streets with their motormouth. This needs to be controlled,” JD(S) minister CS Puttaraju told reporters.
Another JD(S) minister Bandeppa Kashempur also asked the Congress to keep its MLAs on a leash. “There’s HD Deve Gowda, Rahul Gandhi and Coordination Committee chairperson Siddaramaiah to talk about the government. When Somashekhar says grants have not been given for Bengaluru’s development, I want to ask him who cleared phase two of Namma Metro? Who cleared the elevated corridor project? It’s wrong to speak like that against Kumaraswamy who is considered one among India’s best CMs,” he said.