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Rift widens between Siddaramaiah & Vishwanath

The rift between Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and his political nemesis, JD(S) state president H Vishwanath, escalated Monday as both leaders continued attacking each other.

The rift between Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and his political nemesis, JD(S) state president H Vishwanath, escalated Monday as both leaders continued attacking each other.

"I take pride in being the CM who implement all promises made in the election manifesto. I’m ready for a public debate on this. But I won’t argue with those who are jealous and incompetent," Siddaramaiah, who also heads the coalition coordination committee, tweeted.  

He was referring to Vishwanath’s comments on Sunday that administration under Siddaramaiah as chief minister was "nothing special." Vishwanath said this while hitting out at Congress leaders for seeking another term for Siddaramaiah.

"The coalition dharma I’m bound to follow has put a lock on my mouth. So I will not respond in detail to Vishwanath’s irresponsible statements. Vishwanath is known for such malicious statements. May God bless him with wisdom. I will raise this in the next coordination committee meeting. First it was G T Deve Gowda, now Vishwanath...I don’t know who’ll be next. The JD(S) leadership should take note of such such irresponsible statements targetting me," Siddaramaiah added.

Vishwanath also responded with a tweet. "The ‘I am the CM’ subject is against coalition dharma and it started primarily with Siddaramaiah himself," he wrote, standing by his statement. "Invite me to the coordination committee meeting where I will answer. Let your clan deity Beereshwara give you good wisdom.”

Speaking to reporters later, Vishwanath accused Siddaramaiah of trying to destabilise the coalition. "He’s heading a coordination committee that is expected to ensure smooth functioning of the coalition. But he’s the one creating trouble," he said.

Apparently, Siddaramaiah is not in favour of Vishwanath coming aboard the coordination committee due to their no-love-lost relationship. This, especially after Vishwanath is said to have worked toward Siddaramaiah’s huge defeat in the Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency last year.

Vishwanath quit the Congress in 2017 after falling out with Siddaramaiah. Vishwanath, who belongs to the backward Kuruba community like Siddaramaiah, is considered to be the non-Vokkaliga face of the JD(S) in the Vokkaliga-dominated old Mysuru region.

"Politics has come full circle for these two leaders,” political analyst Sandeep Shastri said. "Vishwanath was an integral part of the Congress and was also a minister before moving to the JD(S). Siddaramaiah was with the JD(S) when he was deputy chief minister before moving to the Congress,” he pointed out.

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