statesman news service
Bangalore, 8 July
With the Congress under Chief Minister Siddaramiah, set to complete two months in office now, its achievement of regaining power in the state after a gap of near seven years, is slowly getting soured, thanks to the growing disaffection among a section of its leaders.
Even as Mr Siddharamiah gets ready to present his first budget as the state’s chief minister, he is confronted with problems in the form of a growing demand for greater coordination with his senior colleagues, at least where decision making is concerned.
Predictably, his spontaneous announcement of a host of social welfare schemes immediately on taking over the mantle of the state, has caused concern to a section of the seniors in the party; even his Cabinet colleagues.
This was because his announcements came even before he had formed his group of ministers. Accordingly, there was resentment in the party forum as the Cabinet colleagues felt "unwanted." It did not take long for the matter to reach the party’s Central leadership.
More important is the recent clamour for the induction of Mr G Parameshwar, as the deputy chief minister.
Mr Parameshwar who is the state unit president of the party was all set to adorn the chief minister’s chair but for the fact that he lost the election from Korategere, his constituency in Tumkur. At least his loyalists believed that.
They feel his detractors within the party sabotaged his chances otherwise he would have won easily. They still hope that he will get the deputy chief minister’s post at least, a view that the chief minister is unlikely to favour himself.
That the matter is not something that can be brushed aside is borne by the fact that at least 100 supporters and loyalists in the party made a strong plea to Mr Digvijay Singh, party’s senior leader who is in charge of Karnataka, to "do justice to Mr Parameshwar."
While Mr Singh has chosen against commenting on the growing demand, the matter remains alive, if senior leaders in the Congress are to be believed. While Mr Parameshwar has sought to alienate himself from such demands, he did write a letter to the chief minister and his colleagues to make sure that the promises made by the Congress party in its election manifesto, were fulfilled in the budget that Mr Siddamaiah is set to present on 12 July.
The chief minister’s constant refrain has been that the "budget will be fair to all."
Meanwhile , the coordination committee that the central leadership of the party is setting up for "better interaction between the party leaders and the government" is being seen differently by the leaders concerned.
Those close to Mr Siddharamiah see it as an attempt to checkmate him. Others feel that it is the ideal instrument to ensure the smooth functioning of the government with the panel also playing an advisory role. Nevertheless, signs of unhappiness that are surfacing could build up later if not immediately after the budget.