Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy (left) with former CM Siddaramaiah.

‘How Much Can I Tolerate’: CM Kumaraswamy Again Threatens to Quit

Amid strains in the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) ties, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday, 30 January, again threatened to quit if Congress leaders continued to take potshots at him.

Addressing the national JD(S) convention in Bengaluru, the CM said:

“Yes, I had said I would step down if Congress leaders continue to take potshots at me. If they repeatedly make such statements, how many more days can I tolerate such stuff. Power is ephemeral. What is permanent is you (party workers) and six-and-a-half crore people of this state.”

On 28 January, Kumaraswamy had threatened to step down over comments by a Congress MLA, prompting Congress to swing into damage control mode.

“Congress leaders...they have to watch all those issues. That is left to them. You ask Congress leaders. I am not the concerned person for those things. I am ready to step down. Congress leaders must think about all those things, to control them. Yes, they are crossing the line.”
HD Kumaraswamy, Chief Minister
Following the chief minister’s remark, Karnataka Congress in-charge KC Venugopal had asked state Congress to send a show cause notice to ST Somashekar, one of the MLAs who had reportedly spoken about Kumaraswamy.

According to a report in Deccan Herald , Yeshwanthpur MLA ST Somashekar and other leaders had praised former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah while speaking at a public event in Bengaluru on Sunday, 27 January.

“His contribution for the development of Bengaluru during his tenure as chief minister is immense. The present coalition government has completed seven months, but grants for development of Bengaluru roads have not yet been released,” Somashekar had said.

Somashekar had also claimed at the event that Siddaramaiah had been forced to take loans to fund his campaign during the Assembly polls, but was defeated due to an internal conspiracy.

Kumaraswamy had said it was the responsibility of the Congress’ high command in the state to keep its MLAs under control.

Commenting on the issue, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had said the MLAs shouldn’t have reacted so openly to the media.

“We've all come together to fight BJP-RSS. It's not advisable for any member to speak against the wishes of the party high command. Such incidents will create confusion in coalition.”

‘Won't Keep Quiet Anymore,’ Former PM Deve Gowda Warns Congress

Expressing unhappiness with Congress, former prime minister Deve Gowda on 31 January, said that he was in pain, adding he 'won't remain quiet anymore.'

As quoted ANI, Gowda said:

“Is this a way to run the coalition government, where we have to request our partner not to use foul language? Six months have passed that Kumaraswamy became the CM and all kinds of things have happened.Till now I haven’t opened my mouth but now I can’t keep quiet.”

Congress in Damage Control Mode

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao had tweeted on Monday, 28 January, that Somashekar had visited the KPCC office and apologised to Kumaraswamy.

In a series of tweets, Rao also said that Congress leaders should not cross the “lakshman rekha” and termed Somashekar’s statements an “act of indiscipline” for which action will be initiated.

“Our coalition with the JDS is to take on the communal forces and unseat the anti democratic forces ruling this country, not to indulge in petty politicking,” Rao said.

Senior Congress MP KC Venugopal also said on Monday that the Congress high command has full faith in the Karnataka government and the chief minister.

Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader Dr G Parameshwara had also downplayed the comments made by his party members, and said everyone was happy with Kumaraswamy’s performance as CM so far.

“Siddaramaiah has been best CM. He is our CLP leader. For the MLAs, he (Siddaramaiah) is the CM. He has expressed his opinion. What is wrong in that? We are all happy with him (Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy).”
Dr G Parameshwara to ANI

The back-and-forth comes days after Operation Lotus 3.0 or ‘Operation Kamala’ – the BJP’s attempt to force Opposition MLAs to resign in order to topple the fragile coalition government in the state.

While the BJP needed 14 MLAs to cross-vote or resign from their posts to bring down the government, they were unable to muster sufficient numbers in the end, despite two independent MLAs switching sides from the Congress-JD(S) alliance.

When Congress Leaders Hailed Siddaramaiah as CM

Along with Somasheka during the Sunday event at Kanaka Samudaya Bhavan, Backward Classes Welfare Minister C Puttaranga Shetty said that he had always considered Siddaramaiah as his chief minister.

Shetty further said he had was always indebted to him for elevating him to the rank of a minister.

Housing minister MTB Nagaraj also cited his support for Siddaramaiah, saying the latter should have continued for a second term as CM.

(With inputs from ANI and Deccan Herald )