Vokkaliga consolidation against Cong a myth: D K Shivakumar

Vokkaliga consolidation against Cong a myth: D K Shivakumar

The Congress’ campaign committee chairperson D K Shivakumar on Friday dismissed the perception that the dominant Vokkaliga community had been consolidated to vote against the party in the May 12 Assembly elections.

Shivakumar, who is an influential Vokkaliga leader himself, said there was no reason for the Vokkaliga community to veer away from the Siddaramaiah-led government, which he pointed out had rolled out programmes for every section of the society.

“To test the waters, I toured the Vokkaliga belt of Mandya, Hassan and Chikkamagaluru. There is no such theory called Vokkaliga consolidation. The Congress government wants to implement the Yettinahole drinking water project at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore, which will help this Vokkaliga belt. But JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy says he will stop the project if he comes to power,” Shivakumar, the energy minister, told reporters.

He added that the Congress had fielded the highest number of Vokkaligas this election. “This did not happen even during S M Krishna’s time.”

Siddaramaiah’s dilemma

The talk of Vokkaliga votes being consolidated against the Congress started ever since Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced his decision to contest from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru.

“The CM will win Chamundeshwari hands down,” Shivakumar asserted.

Shivakumar claimed that the BJP and the JD(S) were cosying up, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rebuke of the regional party.

“Modi may have done a U-turn, but what was the need to praise H D Deve Gowda? That’s because the BJP knows it is weak and that it can’t stand on its own. That’s also why we have asked the JD(S) to clarify whether or not they are really secular,” he said.

The BJP-led Centre was misusing government machinery to target Congress leaders. “Forget the raids that I faced, but even block and taluk leaders are being harassed,” he said.

Shivakumar said he was confident of the Congress winning 132 seats. “The BJP is fighting 165 seats and the JD(S) only 70. We are fighting 223 seats,” he said.