By BD Naraayannkar
Bengaluru: Looks like all is not well in the victorious camp. The Rajasthan syndrome haunts Karnataka Congress. The dilemma of choosing between charismatic leader Siddaramaiah and money bag DK Shivakumar for chief minister’s post prevails. Signs of which have already been reflected in AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge booking hotel rooms for incumbent MLAs and expected visits of party observers.
Visit of party observers is quite normal but after a thumping victory their presence is simply odd. They will be in Bengaluru to take feedback from each MLA to arrive at a decision on who is the better option for the Congress as chief minister – Siddaramaiah or Shivakumar.
But as per media reports, the party’s high command is backing Shivakumar for the coveted job, for he had pledged to deliver Karnataka into Sonia Gandhi’s fold.
If so, there are a few obstacles in the path of Shivakumar’s coronation. The damocles swords of court cases pertaining to money laundering haunt him. Moreover he is on bail to avoid arrest and imprisonment. If he is sent back to Tihar by the courts in the garb of the chief minister that would cause an indelible damage to the image of the government.
Surely the supporters of Siddaramaiah would be vociferously putting this strong pitch before the observers. Shivakumar may have the blessings of the high command, but Siddaramaiah commands numbers. And hence the Rajasthan syndrome haunts Karnataka Congress.
In the pink state, Sachin Pilot is feuding with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for the coveted post in return for his yeoman effort to bring Congress to power in Rajasthan. He feels deceived for not getting his due after Gehlot held the reins.
Before this ongoing epic in Rajasthan, the Congress burnt the fingers by sidelining Jyotiraditya Scindia who had laboured hard to bring the party to power in Madhya Pradesh, but the cream was offered to Kamal Nath. This invigorated Scindia to stage a rebellion and brought down the Kamal Nath government by quitting the party along with his supporters and joining the BJP which brought him a slice of a plum post in the central cabinet and his supporters in the state cabinet.
Situation is rife in Karnataka as it was in Madhya Pradesh and is existent in Rajasthan and Chattisgarh for the Congress – the feuding warhorses trying to checkmate each other to occupy the king’s seat.
As for BJP it could be still in the game to cobble up a government but that would not augur well for the party in the long run. But it’s interesting what the saffron party does when the Madhya Pradesh situation arises in Karnataka.