Shivakumar asks Congress leaders to refrain from making public comments on leadership issue

Shivakumar, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister urged partymen to "shut their mouth" in the interest of the party.


Published Jun 29, 2024 | 3:45 PM Updated Jun 29, 2024 | 3:45 PM

DK Shivakumar

Amid raging debate over the possibility of a change in chief minister and demand for three more deputy chief ministers in Karnataka, state Congress president DK Shivakumar on Saturday, 29 June, asked his partymen and leaders to refrain from issuing public statements on the issue and warned of disciplinary action.

Shivakumar, who is also the deputy chief minister, urged partymen to “shut their mouth” in the interest of the party, as he also requested seers not to interfere in political matters.

There is a growing demand within the state cabinet to have three more deputy chief ministers— from Veerashaiva-Lingayat, SC/ST, and minority communities. Currently, Shivakumar from the dominant Vokkaliga community is only the Deputy Chief Minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet.

Also Read: Veershaiva-Lingayat pontiff seeks CM and DCM posts for community

Comments from seers

A Vokkaliga seer, Kumara Chandrashekaranatha Swamiji of Vishwa Vokkaliga Mahasamastana Math, on Thursday had publicly urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to step down and make way for his deputy Shivakumar.

Following this demand, a Veearashaiva-Lingayat seer —Srisaila Jagadguru Channa Siddharama Panditaradhya Swamiji — on Friday said ministers from his community should be considered for the chief minister’s post in case there is a leadership change, while also pitching for them to be given priority in the event of creation of additional deputy chief minister posts.

“There is no discussion on any deputy chief minister nor there is any question about the chief minister. Swamiji (Vokkaliga seer) out of affection towards me might have spoken about me. That’s all. I request —I don’t need anyone’s recommendation. For the work we have done our party high command will decide,” Shivakumar said in response to a question whether he had discussed with the high command the demand for more deputy chief ministers during the Delhi visit.

‘No need to comment’

Addressing reporters in Bengaluru, he said, “Kharge (AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge), Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and I, in the interest of the party, have decided how to function. So there is no need for any MLA or minister or swamiji to speak. If they (seers) bless us, it’s enough…”

There is no need for any minister to comment on the chief minister or deputy chief minister issue in public or before the media, Shivakumar said and warned that “if any MLA or anyone from the party raises it, the AICC or I will be forced to issue notice and take disciplinary action. Discipline is important in the party. There is nothing without discipline.”

“I know the struggle that has gone to bring the party to this level, there is no need for any of them to speak now.”

Responding to a query, the deputy chief minister said, “In the interest of the party I’m telling everyone — if you shut your mouth it will be good for the party.”

Asked about seers interfering in politics, he said, “No swamiji had spoken other than now…I request all of them with folded hands, don’t interfere in political matters.”

Also Read: Vokkaliga seer appeals to Siddaramaiah to step down as CM, make way for DK Shivakumar

Alleged plan by Siddaramaiah’s camp

A section within the Congress is of the opinion that the statement by the ministers seeking three more deputy chief ministers, was part of a plan by Siddaramaiah’s camp to keep Shivakumar in check, amid talks he might seek the chief minister post after two-and-half years of this government’s tenure, and to counter his influence both in the government and party.

There is also a feeling that the Vokkaliga seer publicly urging Siddaramaiah to step down and make way for Shivakumar is a counter to the chief minister from the KPCC president’s camp.

There was stiff competition between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for the chief minister’s post after the declaration of Assembly election results in May 2023, and the Congress had managed to convince the latter and made him the deputy chief minister.

Some reports suggested at the time of a compromise having been reached based on a “rotational chief minister formula,” according to which Shivakumar will become CM after two-and-half years, but they have not been officially confirmed by the party.

Shivakumar has made no secret of his ambition to become the chief minister, while Siddaramaiah had sought public support during the Lok Sabha polls so that the Congress wins the maximum number of seats in the state, which would strengthen his position.

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