Ahead of Rajya Sabha polls, Karnataka govt faces internal dissent, but Congress wary of fishing in troubled waters

The Karnataka government, which already has its hands full with the COVID-19 crisis, is now having to deal with the possibility of dissidence from some BJP MLAs.

FP Staff June 06, 2020 18:50:55 IST
Ahead of Rajya Sabha polls, Karnataka govt faces internal dissent, but Congress wary of fishing in troubled waters

The BS Yediyurappa government in Karnataka, which already has its hands full with the COVID-19 crisis, is now having to deal with the possibility of dissidence from some BJP MLAs.

The crisis began after former chief minister Siddaramaiah tweeted, "Many disgruntled BJP lawmakers have met me and, of course, expressed their displeasure."

He was further quoted as saying to reporters, "It is true that there is dissidence within the BJP and it will continue. We will not involve ourselves in anything related to it, if the government falls on its own, lets see then."

Siddaramaiah also took potshots at Yediyurappa over accusations over his son BY Vijayendra's interference in the administration. He further alleged, "People say Vijayendra is working as an unconstitutional chief minister, we are not saying it. Yediyurappa is the chief minister only for name's sake, it is Vijayendra who clears things."

Ahead of Rajya Sabha polls Karnataka govt faces internal dissent but Congress wary of fishing in troubled waters

File image of Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa. PTI

The former chief minister's claims come a week after BJP leader and eight-time MLA Umesh Katti held a meeting with over 20 north Karnataka MLAs. According to Deccan Chronicle, Umesh Katti was deprived of a ministerial berth, and so, he has sought a Rajya Sabha berth for his brother Ramesh Katti.

After the meeting, Katti is said to have met Yediyurappa on 28 May at his official residence. During the meeting with Yediyurappa, Katti is said to have put pressure on the Karnataka chief minister to consider his brother for the Rajya Sabha, but claimed that the meeting of legislators was a casual one over meals.

The meeting of the 20 MLAs also triggered reports in a section of media that the chief minister would hold a meeting with a few legislators, apparently to placate them, a claim rejected by Yediyurappa. "I have noticed reports being aired by some news channels that I have convened an emergency meeting with a few legislators. It is far from truth. I would like to clarify that I have not convened any such meeting," he had tweeted on 29 May.

Rajya Sabha polls looming

Four Rajya Sabha seats represented by Rajeev Gowda and BK Hariprasad of the Congress, Prabhakar Kore of the BJP and D Kupendra Reddy of the JD(S) will fall vacant on 25 June with their retirement.

While Congress has fielded Mallikarjun Kharge as its candidate, the BJP and JD(S) are yet to finalise their candidates or strategy for the four Rajya Sabha seats from the state that will go to the polls on 19 June.

The last date for filing nominations is 9 June. With 117 members (including Speaker), BJP can ensure an easy victory in two of the four seats.

The party is scheduled to hold its core committee meeting on Saturday, where they are likely to discuss names and convey them to the central leadership, sources told PTI.

As suspense continues over BJP's pick for Rajya Sabha polls, some within the party expect names to come directly from the central leadership.

Uncertainty in Congress camp

While there does seem to be a storm brewing in the saffron party, it is not clear whether the Congress intends to make an attempt at destabilising the state government. A part of the reason could be the disquiet in its own camp over the post of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief.

On 11 March, DK Shivakumar was named as KPCC chief and he claims to have been discharging the duties of his post since then. However, his official takeover of the party reins in the state has been postponed two times.

The New Indian Express quoted a Congress leader as saying that it is best not to disrupt the Yediyurappa government as of now.

“DK Shivakumar has just taken charge as KPCC chief and needs at least two years to cement himself among workers and leaders. If elections are held shortly, they may not be favourable to him,” the Congress leader said.

However, the article also quotes a leader close to Siddaramaiah as saying that the bigger reason for not attempting to pull down the government is a lack of trust in the 'dissident' BJP MLAs.

With inputs from PTI

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