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'Siddaramaiah for CM': Cracks widen in Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka as senior leaders spar over 'coalition dharma'

Bengaluru: Cracks within the ruling coalition partners in Karnataka appeared to widen as JD(S) state president AH Vishwanath and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah accused each other of not following the "coalition dharma".

The flare-up between the two leaders that could complicate matters for the Congress and JD(S) further stemmed from the growing 'Siddaramaiah for CM' clamour within the Congress.

The call has irked the JD(S) leadership, with Vishwanath Sunday flaying it as "chamchagiri" (sycophancy) and questioning the ability of Siddaramaiah as an administrator.

 Siddaramaiah for CM: Cracks widen in Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka as senior leaders spar over coalition dharma

File image of Congress leader Siddaramaiah. Getty Images

"What is so special (about Siddaramaiah rule), was his administration greater than Devraj Urs'? People remember Devraj Urs even today after 30 years. What great administration happened (during Siddaramaiah) to remember it for decades? What major developmental work happened? Nothing...," Vishwanath had said Sunday.

A miffed Siddaramaiah tweeted Monday, "I would raise the jealous statement by Vishwanath in the coordination committee. Earlier it was GT Deve Gowda (higher education minister) and now Vishwanath. Don't know who is the next? It is better if seniors in JD(S) take note of it."

He said "coalition dharma" was preventing him from speaking openly against "irresponsible" remarks of Vishwanath.

"Vishwanath is notorious for his mischievous statements. May God give him wisdom," Siddaramaiah tweeted.

Reacting to Siddaramaiah's tweet, Vishwanath Monday questioned what Siddaramaiah had done as the chairperson of the coordination committee of Congress and JD(S).

Speaking to reporters, Vishwanath said, "The coordination committee has been formed for coalition dharma. Do discuss in the coordination committee. You are the chairman there. Who has stopped you from saying in the coordination committee that you want to be the chief minister."

He also emphasised upon the fact that the coordination committee could not draw a common minimum programme even in the last one year.

"Coordination committee has to coordinate between both coalition partners in the government JD(S) and Congress. You are not ready. You are accusing me of being irresponsible," Vishwanath said.

He said though Siddaramaiah had been the chairman for a year, the common minimum programme has not been prepared yet.

"It has not yet framed which direction the government should proceed, what the programmes of the government should be and which are the principles of the two parties to proceed with," Vishwanath charged.

He also stressed that if at all there is any scope for Siddaramaiah to become chief minister again, it will be only in 2022 and not before that.

Deputy chief minister Dr G Parameshwara, who is from the Congress, too blamed Vishwanath for his remarks.

"I am not aware of personal differences of opinion between two leaders. However, when the two parties decided to run the government together it was not appropriate for Vishwanath to speak low about the coordination committee chairman. Such talk should not happen in future."

"Even we should not speak so. That's what is called as 'coalition dharma," he said.

As the two leaders sparred, the BJP termed Vishwanath's remarks as a reflection of the JD(S) leadership.

"It is not a statement by AH Vishwanath but something Kumaraswamy wants to convey through him," BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa said.

Bickering between coalition partners was evident even during the Lok Sabha elections. Though the two parties fought together bitter rivalry still prevailed at the grassroots level.

Squabbling was quite evident in Tumakuru, Hassan and Mandya from where JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, his grandsons Prajwal Revanna and Nikhil Kumaraswamy contested, respectively.

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Updated Date: May 13, 2019 16:14:23 IST