Noting that many Congress leaders are pitching for making him Chief Minister out of “affection”, Siddaramaiah on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of any change in the top post held by HD Kumaraswamy of the JD(S).
Speaking to reporters in Hubballi, Siddaramaiah said “They (Congress men) are expressing their opinion, but is it possible now? The seat is not vacant now, Kumaraswamy is chief minister. How can I become the CM?”
“Some may be saying things out of affection towards me. Is it wrong to say that?” he asked.
With a section of Congress clamouring for Siddaramaiah becoming the CM once again, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Pradesh Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao met Kumaraswamy Wednesday, during which they reportedly discussed the developments.
According to Congress sources, Kumaraswamy asked them to restrain party leaders from publicly making statements on the post of Chief Minister as it was embarrassing the government and himself.
A stung JD(S), in its reaction, ruled out any possibility of Siddaramaiah becoming Chief Minister immediately, citing lack of numbers in the assembly.
Terming the Congress’ leaders’ demand unreasonable, JDS state president H Vishwanath said when Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was efficiently performing his responsibilities, there was no question of Siddaramaiah becoming CM.
None could predict about things happening in a particular manner, he said, adding there was currently no way for Siddaramaiah to become Chief Minister immediately, given the numbers in the assembly.
“There is no way, even if all the like-minded (MLAs) join together also it is 79….,” he added.
Vishwanath was reacting to growing clamour within a section of the Congress, pitching for Siddaramaiah becoming the CM once again.
To a query on whether there would be changes after the Lok Sabha poll results are out on May 23, Siddaramaiah, who is the Congress Legislature Party leader, said “there are no indications of any changes.
Why will there be any change? Kumaraswamy is the coalition government’s chief minister.”
Asked if JD(S) would give up the CM’s post to Congress, Siddaramaiah said he cannot respond to such speculation.
Rao told reporters they had invited the Chief Minister to campaign for the May 19 assembly by-polls in Chincholi and Kundgol.
“High command has already decided…Rahul Gandhi (Congress President) and Deve Gowda (JDS patriarch) both have sat and discussed, also with other leaders (about Kumaraswamy as CM for full term), so in the present situation, that question (any change in CM) does not arise at all.”
“No one should make such statements and there is no need for it also,” he added.
Karnataka Home Minister M B Patil had on Tuesday made a pitch for Siddaramaiah “as chief minister again”, but clarified that the present coalition government under Kumaraswamy would complete its full term.
Patil’s statement was in line with Chikkaballapura Congress MLA K Sudhakar’s remarks on Monday that it would be good if Siddaramaiah becomes chief minister again.
Talks about Siddaramaiah as chief minister once again have emerged amid reports that the Congress in Karnataka was preparing for assembly polls after the Lok Sabha election results, which party leaders have rubbished.
However, there are discussions within political circles that any adverse results for the coalition in the Lok Sabha polls, which they fought in alliance, would have its implications on the Kumaraswamy-led government.
In April, Siddaramaiah had asserted he was not a “political sanyasi” and was in active politics and added that Congress would form the government in Karnataka after the next assembly polls and he would become chief minister once again.
Despite Siddaramaiah’s clarification, Minister PT Parameshwar Naik of Congress Wednesday pitched for the coalition coordination chief as Chief Minister once again.
Addressing an event at Mylara in Ballari district, he recalled the work done by Siddaramaiah as Chief Minister and said it was necessary for him to occupy the post once again in everyone’s interest.
All questions and doubts would be answered on May 23 when the Lok Sabha election results are declared, he said.
He said nothing would happen to the coalition government for now and Kumaraswamy would continue as Chief Minister.
The Karnataka assembly has 224 members, in which BJP has 104 MLAs, Congress-77, JD(S)-37, BSP(1), independent (1)(both supporting the ruling alliance), one KPJP, and one Speaker.
Two seats are vacant, for which by-polls will be held on May 19.