Siddaramaiah to skip half of Belagavi winter session

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah will miss at least half of the winter session of the legislature at Belagavi starting December 10 as he is flying to Malaysia on a personal visit. 

His decision to skip the first five days of the legislature session, where the BJP has planned an offensive to corner the Congress-JD(S) coalition, has raised eyebrows in the political circles. 

Siddaramaiah, who heads the Coalition Coordination and Monitoring Committee, will be in Malaysia from December 10-14 to attend a wedding. “Don’t I have a personal life? Are you going to make this look like an offence,” he asked reporters Saturday. “I’m going to attend a friend's wedding.”

The former chief minister’s Malaysia sojourn comes at a time when dissidence is brewing within the Congress over the expansion of the Cabinet. Several senior leaders, who are ministerial aspirants, are disgruntled. 

Also, by virtue of being the leader of the Congress in the floor of the House, Siddaramaiah was expected to defend the alliance partner JD(S), whose chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has been under Opposition fire on various issues concerning farmers and development in general. 

The winter session of legislature also comes at a time when Congress legislators have expressed displeasure over the way the coalition functioned, and that they felt shortchanged under the Kumaraswamy administration. Some have even accused the Congress leadership, including Siddaramaiah, for failing to protect the party’s interest in the coalition set up. 

It may be noted that crisis has erupted each time Siddaramaiah has taken a break. For instance, soon after Kumaraswamy took charge, Siddaramaiah retreated to a naturopathy centre in Dharmasthala where two videos of his, in which he is frowning upon Kumaraswamy, were leaked and that caused a furore. During his Europe tour, dissidence by Congress leaders threatened the very survival of the Congress-JD(S) coalition.


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