Siddaramaiah seeks JD(S) support in bypoll
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah — who is engaged in a bitter war of words with Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy over the issue of scrapping the list of candidates selected for the gazetted probationers’ posts by the Karnataka Public Service Commission — on Wednesday threw up a political surprise by requesting the local JD(S) unit to extend its support to the Congress in the byelection to the Shikaripur Assembly constituency.
“Both the Congress and the JD (S) have regard for secular principles. The secular forces should join hands to ensure the defeat of the communal BJP in the byelection,” he told presspersons during his campaign in the Shikaripur constituency, where the BJP has fielded B.Y. Raghavendra, the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s son.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said he had already spoken to Sorab MLA and JD (S) leader Madhu Bangarappa over telephone and requested him to support the Congress. Mr. Bangarappa had responded positively to the request, he noted.
Meanwhile, Mr. Siddaramaiah and G. Parameshwara, KPCC president, held discussions with H.T. Baligar, a former bureaucrat and president of the Shikaripur taluk unit of JD(S), on Tuesday night. Mr. Baligar, who is learnt to have agreed to the Chief Minister’s request to support the Congress, is likely to make an announcement in this regard on Thursday.
While the JD (S) has not fielded candidates in the bypolls citing funds crunch, Mr. Kumaraswamy told presspersons in Bangalore that the party had left it to the local leaders to decide the issue, though he maintained that the party would not have any formal poll understanding with other parties.
This understanding between the Congress and the JD (S) is being seen in political circles as a mutually beneficial move by both the parties to take on the formidable BJP in Shikaripur seat, which is Mr. Yeddyurappa’s stronghold.
The JD (S) too appears to be seeing this as a political opportunity, especially after its high-profile battle against Mr. Yeddyurappa in the Lok Sabha elections from Shimoga failed to yield the desired results despite fielding the former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa’s daughter Geeta Shivaraj Kumar.
The JD (S) top leaders have a running feud with Mr. Siddaramaiah, who crossed over to the Congress following serious differences with them.
In fact, Mr. Kumaraswamy had cited the “tacit support” to Mr. Siddaramaiah by the Congress as the main reason for opting out of the coalition arrangement with the Congress.
However, that has not deterred the JD (S) from supporting him on some crucial issues to strategically corner the BJP after he became the Chief Minister.
The JD (S) had supported him during the Belgaum session of the State legislature when the BJP had tried to put the government on the mat over the suicide of a protesting sugarcane farmer.
Similarly, the JD (S) had attacked the BJP in the recent legislature session just a few days after it joined hands with that party in the Upper House to get the Deputy Chairman’s post and also to ensure that the BJP got adequate numerical strength to keep the Chairman’s post.