Mental well-being of Siddaramaiah deteriorating: Gowda

Mental well-being of Siddaramaiah deteriorating: Gowda

Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation, D.V. Sadananda Gowda. (DH Photo)

The ruling BJP has launched a concerted attack targeting Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, in what appears to be a two-pronged strategy to corner the Congress ahead of the December 5 bypolls.

BJP leaders have been attacking Siddaramaiah on the premise that senior Congress leaders have been conspicuous in their absence during campaigning for the bypolls, thus underlining that the party was riddled with factions. 

Union Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, while campaigning for disqualified legislator K Gopalaiah at Mahalakshmi Layout on Friday, told reporters that Siddaramaiah had no support from within his party. “I think his mental state of well-being is deteriorating with each passing day,” Gowda said. 

“Internally, there’s confusion in his party, which is losing identity across India. And no senior leader is with Siddaramaiah. Is there anyone with him,” Gowda asked. “G Parameshwara has his own way and so does DK Shivakumar; Mallikarjun Kharge has disappeared and HK Patil is nowhere to be seen,” he said. 

Such attacks on Siddaramaiah have also come from Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan and BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel. “Siddaramaiah is cornered in the party. There’s no proper coordination among the Congress leaders. They’ve found an alternative to Siddaramaiah and thus neglecting him,” Narayan said. 

The BJP’s offensive comes even as there is disgruntlement within the Congress against Siddaramaiah’s “growing control” on the party’s affairs. A section of senior leaders has accused Siddaramaiah of taking ‘unilateral’ decisions and the latest bone of contention has been the choice of candidates for the bypolls. Visibly, the “anti-Siddaramaiah” faction has kept a distance. 

Also, the attack on Siddaramaiah is seen as the BJP’s strategy to damage his stature as the leader of the Ahinda, a Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits. The Ahinda is a vote bank the BJP is looking to infiltrate and for the bypolls, the saffron party has fielded three disqualified MLAs who are Kurubas, the community Siddaramaiah belongs to. 

Siddaramaiah, in a tweet, wondered why he had become the BJP’s target. “It looks like Narendra Modi and Amit Shah may have promised the state BJP leaders some prize to whoever criticizes me the most. If I’m alone like they say, why should they be afraid of me at all?” 

But Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao played down differences within the party. “Our campaign starts November 23, but Siddaramaiah had started visiting some constituencies,” he said. Senior leaders M Veerappa Moily, Parameshwara, Shivakumar, KH Muniyappa among others are “on the field” and “we want leaders to fan out separately to cover all 15 constituencies,” Rao said. “ How can you say there's no cooperation,” he asked. 

The December 5 bypolls are crucial for the BJP as it needs to win at least 6-7 seats to ensure a simple majority in the Assembly. For Congress, it is a matter of prestige to defeat the disqualified legislators who caused the downfall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government. 

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