The internal rift in Karnataka Congress widened after ex-CM Siddaramaiah was caught on a hot mic talking about Head of State Unit DK Shivakumar (DKS). In the video seen by Republic TV on Saturday, Congress Leader Ashok Pattan is heard complaining to DKS’ Siddaramaiah about the distribution of ballots. The leader is heard claiming that ‘the DKS wants us to surrender to them’, alleging a plot to twice rob MP Akhanda Srinivas Murthy of a ballot. Karnataka goes to the polls in 2023.
Close aides to opposition party leader Siddaramaiah reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with the functioning of KPCC chairman DK Shivakumar. Before addressing a press conference on Saturday afternoon, former Congress MP Ashok was speaking with opposition party leader Siddaramaiah about how a plot was hatched to deny a ticket to two-time MP Akhanda Srinivas Murthy. Srinivas’ supporters had met him earlier at his residence and demanded an assurance from the Siddaramaiah that a ticket be given to the incumbent MP.
Siddaramaiah – Send all these workers from Pulakeshinagar. However, there remains a deadline of one year 2 months for the elections, they are already claiming tickets.
Ashok Pattan – They are all campaigning against him (Pulakeshinagar MLA Akhand Srinivas) in the constituency it seems.
Siddaramaiah – If they do, let them. He is a full member. If we ever learn that he is losing, then there will be a problem with issuing tickets.
Ashok – I told him that all incumbent MPs will continue, don’t worry. But he was worried.
Siddaramaiah – they spoil all constituencies.
Ashok – they spoil the whole constituency like that. DKS is like that.
Siddaramaiah- ok pa, finally what is the result?
Ashok-He (DKS) wanted everyone handed over to him. Who should we all surrender to?
Siddaramaiah – Media personnel are here, they might hear it, leave it.
MP Akhanda Srinivas Murthy’s home and office was looted and set on fire by a violent mob during the infamous DJ Halli Riots against an offensive Facebook post uploaded by his nephew, P Naveen.
The MP regretted that despite several calls and personal meetings with KPCC Chairman DK Shivakumar, he did not receive any support from him. He also alleged that the KPCC chairman supported former mayor and Corporal Sampath Raj, who was arrested last year for his involvement in the case.
Congressional infighting escalates
The BJP says the internal Congress squabble is in public fury. Speaking to BJP republic spokesperson S Prakash said: “The discontent between Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar has become furious now. Now it is an undeniable fact now, that they are not of OK.”
Another BJP MP, Dr. Bharath Shetty, believes that the state Congress has reduced itself only to camps and crabs. Speaking to the Republic Network, Shetty said: “Congress infighting for supremacy is nothing new. Karnataka’s Congress C has reduced to camps and crabs. Camp DK Shivkumar, the Siddaramaiah camp, and other sub-factions within the factions, pledged to shoot each other.
Sources said Srinivas supporters had earlier met Siddaramaiah at his residence to demand assurances that the Pulakeshinagar MP would receive a ballot. Additionally, Srinivas’ home and office were looted and burned down by a violent mob during the 2020 Bengaluru riots after his nephew made an offensive Facebook post. Seeking a reprieve, Srinivas appealed to DKS but got no support.
Earlier, former VS party MP Ugrappa and media coordinator Saleem were heard raising serious corruption allegations against KPCC chairman DK Shivakumar. Saleem was heard alleging that DKS increased the ‘money cut’ percentage to 12%, adding that even the DKS aid earned Rs 50-100 crore. Saleem also compared top Congress leader Siddaramaiah to Shivakumar saying that while the former was “powerful”, the latter acted like a “drunkard”. Saleem suspended him from Congress for six years, while Ugrappa flip-flopped saying he had known Shivakumar for 3-4 decades and was a “committed politician”.
This video is the latest amid growing hostility between ex-CM Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief DKS. Recently, DKS has been seen at the forefront of the state congressional campaign, planning to be the face of the party’s CM. This upset ex-CM Siddaramaiah, who has a major influence on the Kuruba community. While both leaders denied eyeing the CM post, Rahul Gandhi met with the two leaders separately to ease the tension.