Don't project me as CM face, Siddaramaiah tells MLAs as fissures in Karnataka Cong widen

Agencies
June 24, 2021

Bengaluru, June 24: Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday asked MLAs not to project him as the Chief Ministerial face for the 2023 Assembly polls, amid widening fissures within the party on the issue, that has triggered a game of one-upmanship between him and state unit President D K Shivakumar.

His statement came amid a growing list of MLAs who openly favoured him as CM face despite diktat from the party leadership, which has irked Shivakumar, who is also nursing Chief Ministerial ambitions.

"I don't know, I don't want to react to that... I have never said that I will become Chief Minister, but I will still request MLAs don't make statements (projecting me as) next Chief Minister," Siddaramaiah said in response to a question on Shivakumar's statement asking him to rein in MLAs projecting him as next CM.

On returning from New Delhi after meeting party's national leaders, Shivakumar on Wednesday said Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah will look into open statements by some MLAs projecting him.

"...party high command has said what it has to, I have also seen statements by some MLAs in the media. Legislature Party leader (Siddaramaiah) will look into it. If he does not, the party is there to look into it," he had said, adding that he was in no urgency to become the CM and bringing the party to power was his goal.

Siddaramaiah, who is now the leader of opposition in the Assembly, however, playing down statements by some MLAs projecting him as the next CM and maintaining it as their personal views, on Wednesday said "I can't do anything about it...I'm not concerned about it."

Congress legislators B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan (Chamarajpet), Raghavendra Hitnal (Koppal), J N Ganesh (Kampli) and Bhima Naik (Hagaribommanahalli), S Ramappa (Harihar) and R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy (Pulakeshinagar) have openly expressed their opinion in favour of Siddaramaiah as the next CM.

Their statements had come despite AICC General Secretary in-charge of the State Randeep Singh Surjewala and Shivakumar's diktat to party legislators and leaders not to make such open remarks.

The move by Siddaramaiah's loyalists is said to have gained momentum following a tweet from Karnataka Congress' official Twitter handle, last month, stating that the Covid- 19 pandemic would have been under control if Shivakumar was the CM.

The tweet was immediately deleted, but not before enraging the Siddaramaiah camp.

With growing political one-upmanship between the two leaders, the issue may become contentious in the days to come for the Congress, party sources said.

Siddaramaiah had earlier headed the Congress government between 2013-18, in which Shivakumar, who is often referred to as the party's troubleshooter, was a Minister. 

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News Network
July 27,2021

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Guwahati, July 27: The Assam government said Tuesday it will deploy 4,000 commandos to guard its border with Mizoram after five police officers were killed in a gunbattle between the feuding neighbours.

More than 60 others were injured in the rare showdown Monday on Assam's border with Mizoram. The two states have been wrangling over their border for decades.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters at Silchar, near where the battle was fought, that the "new commando battalion" would be deployed on the border.

Tensions had been building between the two states since last month when Mizoram alleged that Assam had encroached on its territory.

Assam in turn accused Mizoram villagers of encroaching instead on reserve forest land.

Home Minister Amit Shah has sought to defuse the row but a solution to the long-standing dispute did not appear imminent.

Sarma, who belongs to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said his government will file a petition in the Supreme Court to ensure "not an inch of reserve forest is encroached upon".

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga has accused Assam police of firing the first shots on Monday.

Zoramthanga heads the Mizo National Front, an ally of the national ruling alliance led by BJP.

He said Assam police had forcibly taken over a border post and assaulted unarmed civilians.

The ministers have staged rival social media campaigns, sharing videos showing civilians armed with batons clashing with police and other violence.

Mizoram was a part of Assam until 1972 when it was split up. It became a state in its own right in 1986.

Mizoram says the area claimed by Assam has been used by its people for more than 100 years, but the Assamese insist that a large chunk of their land has been seized.

The far-flung and resource-rich northeastern region has been a hotbed of ethnic tensions since India's independence in 1947.

Borders between the seven states in the region are not clearly demarcated and there are regular disputes over land and assets. However, deadly confrontations such as Monday's are rare. 

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coastaldigest.com news network
July 26,2021

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Bengaluru, July 26: B S Yediyurappa announced his resignation as Karnataka Chief Minister on Monday as his government completes two years in office.

Ending months of speculation, Yediyurappa's exit comes as chaos reigned over the Karnataka BJP as the party was considering replacing the aging party leader, who belongs to the influential Lingayat community.

The past two years have been a political roller-coaster for the 78-year-old leader, who has had to fight dissidence within the party.

Yediyurappa had to fulfill his promise of rewarding the 16 MLAs who defected from the Congress-JD(S) coalition without offending the ‘native’ BJP leaders.

He also had to deal with some BJP leaders critical of his style of functioning. They alleged that his son, BJP state vice-president B Y Vijayendra, interfered in the administration. This, coupled with the BJP’s unwritten rule of asking its leaders to retire after 75 years of age, hung like a sword of Damocles over him.

Replacing Yediyurappa risks losing the support of Lingayats, the party’s largest vote bank. The party also hopes to win over the Vokkaligas, the other dominant community, to gain an edge over the JD(S) and Congress that are led by Vokkaligas H D Kumaraswamy and D K Shivakumar, respectively. Meanwhile, fresh demands are being made for a Dalit to be made the CM.

Further, while Yediyurappa is perceived as a ‘soft Hindutva’ ideologue, the BJP is said to be considering a hardliner backed by the RSS to become its face for the 2023 polls. 

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News Network
August 1,2021

Bengaluru, Aug 1: Uneasy calm prevails in the BJP Karnataka state unit leaders' camp as they have got the news that the party is keen on replacing the elderly leaders with new faces, sources said.

According to sources in the party, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and the party top brass are said to have agreed upon giving chance to 6 new faces in the cabinet.

It is said that Bommai has proposed the creation of five deputy chief ministers to give representation to scheduled castes, tribes, other backward communities, Lingayat and Vokkaliga castes.

Bommai's proposal has been agreed upon by the high command as well as former chief minister Yediyurappa, sources explained.

RSS leaders are said to be hesitant on forming a cabinet on caste lines and are also of the opinion that the creation of posts of deputy chief ministers will create unnecessary rivalry among themselves.

The senior BJP leaders, who enjoyed plum postings, are said to be disturbed after the news of being laid off in the new cabinet reached them.

Former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, S. Sureshkumar, R. Ashok and former deputy chief minister Govind Karajol are lobbying hard to retain their prominence in the party.

The party has decided to induct 21 to 25 ministers into the cabinet in the first phase. After seeing reactions, decisions will be made in future, sources claimed.

Most of the legislators who joined BJP from the Congress are likely to make it to the cabinet. Yediyurappa has been continuously issuing sympathetic statements about them, party sources say.

Meanwhile, former ministers Umesh Katti, C.C. Patil, C.P. Yogeshwar, former deputy chief minister Lakshman Savadi and MLA Aravind Bellad are camping in New Delhi and are meeting senior leaders.

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