Bengaluru, Sept 12: It is no secret that Congress leader and water resources minister D K Shivakumar is a chief ministerial aspirant.
And this seems to be the focal point of the raging controversy involving the Jarkiholi brothersand Congress MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar in Belagavi, that is causing worry to the Kumaraswamy government. The Jarkiholis have told the Congress leadership to direct Shivakumar to steer clear of Belagavi politics.
Party insiders said Shivakumar is firmly backing Hebbalkar to ensure she gains a foothold in Belagavi politics, currently largely controlled by the Jarkiholis, Kattis and Hukkeris.
“Shivakumar feels it would help his cause on the road to becoming CM someday, as Belagavi, with about 18 assembly constituencies, is a politically significant district in North Karnataka,” they added.
To gain a foothold in Belagavi politics, locals admit that it is indispensable for any leader to gain control over cooperative banks, as they form the support base of all leaders. “The Jarkiholis felt threatened and rattled when Hebbalkar tried to gain entry into their long-held bastion,” they added.
Shivakumar has already successfully executed this plan over the other politically significant districts of Dharwad and Ballari, by supporting second-rung leaders like Vinay Kulkarni, B Nagendra and Anand Singh, and has already gained some control there.
A senior leader close to Shivakumar said the latter is confident of making it to the CM’s gaddi, as he feels he will emerge as the next major Vokkaliga leader, after chief minister H D Kumaraswamy. “Shivakumar has realized that it is important to have the support of MLAs from North Karnataka, if one has to emerge as Congress legislature party leader, that sets the stage to becoming CM. So he is grooming some second-rung leaders to shore up his numbers before he gets the opportunity to don the CM’s mantle,” they added.
Shivakumar, the second richest minister in the country with assets worth Rs 251 crore, started executing his long-term plan last year when he reaffirmed his credentials as the party’s top crisis manager by shielding his party’s legislators from Gujarat, and prevented attempts to poach them by the BJP during the Rajya Sabha elections.
However, the income-tax department raids turned out to be a major setback, and he is now desperately finding ways to wriggle out of it to accomplish his CM dream.
Why does D K Shivakumar want hold on Belagavi