A political slugfest has erupted between former Chief Ministers Siddaramaiah and H D Kumaraswamy with the two leaders blaming each other for the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka.
The unease that existed between the former alliance partners ever since the fall of the alliance government in July has now come out in the open with the announcement of bypolls for the 15 Assembly constituencies, in which both parties will go it alone.
"Kumaraswamy does not speak with sense. G T Devegowda who is JD(S) MLA and was minister in his cabinet has recently said that Kumaraswamy had asked him to get votes transferred to BJP candidates in Mysuru and Chamarajanagra (during Lok Sabha polls)," Siddaramaiah told reporters in Hubballi.
"Now he (Kumaraswamy) is playing drama... because byelections have come he is into theatrics," he added.
The Congress leader was reacting to Kumaraswamy's comments blaming local Congress under Siddaramaiah's leadership for the defeat of his father H D Deve Gowda in Tumakuru, son Nikhil Kumaraswamy in Mandya and for the defeat of Congress' own candidate K H Muniyappa in Kolar.
Referring to a popular Kannada song in which a parrot nurtured by its owner goes on to betray and inflict pain on him, Siddaramaiah in a tweet chided Kumaraswamy and said,"... it is my mistake. Despite having four decades of political association and experience, we believed eagle as parrot and allied with it. Will it not inflict pain? What is bigger lesson than experience?"
Seeking to turn the tables, Kumaraswamy squarely blamed Siddaramaiah for the collapse of the government alleging that the CLP leader was unable to fathom the fact that the JD(S) leader had become the Chief Minister of the coalition government.
"I did not become Chief Minister because of Siddaramaiah, Congress high command took the decision. But Siddaramaiah could not tolerate their decision, or else this government would not have gone," Kumaraswamy said in Chennapatna.
"He had told his party MLAs that he will not allow the coalition government to continue even for a second after the Lok Sabha polls," he added.
He also hit back at Siddaramaiah for his tweet and said that the senior Congress leaders along with others had betrayed Deve Gowda who "nurtured them politically".
"What was the reason for the collapse of the government, don't I know what all happened. I'm not a parrot nurtured by Siddaramaiah, people of Ramanagara have nurtured me, it is because of them I have grown in state politics," he said.
Last month JD(S) patriarch Deve Gowda and Siddaramaiah had exchanged barbs, holding each other responsible for the collapse of the coalition government.
Absence and resignation of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs during the trust vote had led to the collapse of the Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July, and helped BJP come to power.
After examining the petition moved by leadership of both parties, the then Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.
The Election Commission on Saturday announced that byelections to constituencies represented by 15 out of 17 disqualified former Congress-JD(S) legislators will be held on October 21 and results will be declared on October 24.