Eight Congress legislators, accompanied with two party ministers Shivanand Patil and Ramesh Jarkiholi, met Karnataka’s former chief minister Siddaramaiah in the temple town of Dharmasthala.
Siddaramaiah, who is currently undergoing treatment in a naturopathy hospital in Dharmasthala, has been meeting several leaders over a couple of days.
While the leaders said that the meeting was to inquire about Siddaramaiah’s health, it is believed that attempts are being made to corner Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who is set to present the state budget on July 5.
Just a month into alliance, the Congress and JD(S) have been at loggerheads over whether Kumaraswamy should present a new budget or stick to the one presented by Siddaramaiah.
Congress has said that there is no need for a fresh budget and insisted that a supplementary budget would do. On the other hand, JD(S) asserted that a fresh budget was needed to demonstrate the direction of the new government.
Earlier too, the feud amid the allies was quite evident when they locked horns over allocation of lucrative, revenue-generating portfolios such as finance, revenue, public works and geology and mines.
Kumaraswamy retained 11 portfolios with himself, including finance. Deputy CM G Parameshwara was assigned the Home department, without the Intelligence wing.
Now, the disgruntled Congress MLAs, who think that they have been wronged by the party high command in the Cabinet expansion, seem to have found an alternate power centre in Siddaramaiah.
The meeting also comes a day after Siddaramaiah, in a leaked video which surfaced on Tuesday, can be purportedly seen expressing doubt over the possibility of the Congress-JD(S) government surviving for five years.
“Five years…difficult…let’s see what will happen after the parliament election (in 2019)…They (government) will remain until parliament elections are over, after that, what all developments will happen (we will have to see),” Siddaramaiah is purportedly heard saying in the video.
Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, however, insisted that the government would complete five years term. “I have not seen it (video), when we reached an understanding (to form the government; we had agreed to run the government for five years. We will run the government for five years,” Parmeshwara was quoted as saying by PTI.
“I’m saying it…if you repeatedly ask the same thing I will say the same. I’m saying it officially that we will run the government for five years. I’m saying it, I’m the party (state) President…what will happen in politics when, no one can predict, but we have agreed that we will run the government for five years,” he said.
On Sunday, another video clip purportedly showing Siddaramaiah expressing displeasure over presentation of a fresh budget to some Congress MLAs went viral.
Kumaraswamy had on Monday sharply reacted to this and said an attempt was being made to create confusion about presentation of the full-fledged budget.