Cracks widen in Karnataka alliance: Congress does damage control, denies Siddaramiah's claims that govt's tenure is numbered

Bengaluru: Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah continued to meet disgruntled Congress MLAs and other leaders on Wednesday, even as his senior party colleagues went into damage control mode after his remarks doubting the longevity of the coalition government with JD(S).

A day after another video showing him purportedly expressing doubts about the longevity of the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka surfaced, several MLAs met him at a nature care hospital in Dharmastala where is undergoing treatment.

As Siddaramaiah confabulated with MLAs and other leaders, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge were in a damage control mode, projecting that all was well in the coalition government.

In an apparent counter to Siddaramaiah, Parameshwara, who is also the state Congress chief, said the coalition government would complete its full five-year term and what others were talking outside was "irrelevant".

Kharge said he would meet the former chief minister and ask him in what context he spoke in that manner. Another senior Congress leader and Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar his party's support to the coalition government was for a full five year term. Some mischief-makers" had released a video of internal informal talks, he said, adding, it was not official.

File image of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. PTI

File image of Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah. PTI

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who was preoccupied with pre-budget meetings, did not make any comments on the raging issue.

His father and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, however, asserted that his son would present the budget on 5 July as per schedule and there would be no danger to his government.

"There will be no danger to the government. There is anxiety among you (the media)...now go back with satisfaction," Gowda told reporters in New Delhi.

Gowda was in Delhi to attend the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, of which he is a member.

However, his visit to the national capital had fuelled speculation that he may be meeting senior Congress leaders, which the former prime minister rejected.

Those who met Siddaramaiah included ministers Ramesh Jarkiholi and Shivananda Patil, MP BV Naik, MLAs Narayan Rao, Pratap Gouda, Nagendra and also former minister TB Jayachandra.

Almost all of those who met Siddaramaiah said they had come to enquire about the health of their "leader" and no politics was discussed during the meet.

Siddaramaiah, who is also the chairman of Congress-JD(S) coordination committee, is scheduled to return to Bengaluru on Thursday after twelve days of treatment.

Tuesday's video surfaced two days after the emergence of a video clip purportedly showing Siddaramiah expressing his displeasure to a few Congress MLAs over presentation of a fresh budget, adding to the strains in the coalition.

Differences have cropped up between the Congress and JD(S) on a host of issues, including presentation of the budget.

Siddaramaiah had recently said there was no need for a fresh budget and insisted that a supplementary budget would do.


Updated Date: Jun 28, 2018 07:31 AM

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