Bangalore : A worried Congress high command has rushed senior party leader Digvijay Singh to Bangalore to stem possibilities of a revolt against Chief Minister Sidddaramaiah if the party fails to get over 18 seats in the Lok Sabha polls from the State.
While Siddaramaiah had promised to deliver a minimum of 20 of the 28 seats to the Lok Sabha from the State, exit polls have painted a different picture. The Congress is predicted to get under 15 seats with the BJP emerging as the winner.
If Cong gets below 15 seats as promised, the Karnataka CM will be in trouble with senior party leaders who have been sidelined by the party brass. It’ll be their time to strike now
If the Congress gets below 15 seats, the Chief Minister will be in for trouble. Siddaramaiah is a recent ‘political import’ from the JD(S) and the importance given to him by New Delhi has upset senior party leaders like S M Krishna and KPCC chief S Parameshwara who would love to get a stick to bbeat the Chief Minister with. And a poor outing at the Lok Sabha may just turn out to be the stick they were searching for.
Though a clean leader, Siddaramaiah, who belongs to the shepherd community, has not been able to keep the flock of senior party leaders together. The last thing that the Congress high command would want is a revolt in its Karnataka unit.
There is little doubt that it is a high stake election for Siddaramaiah. Senior party leaders have sent out a subtle message that the present election is a sort of referendum on the performance of the Chief Minister. But Siddaramaiah has been dismissive about exit polls which have given a clear edge to the BJP.
Digvijay Singh held a series of meetings with the Chief Minister and KPCC chief Parameshwara. Following these meetings, Sin-gh has laid down a 10-point plan that essentially tweaks at the powers enjoyed by the Chief Minister forcing him to change his style of functioning.
Wary of senior party leaders, Siddaramaiah has been sidelining senior leaders and is known to be brusque in his dealings with partymen.
In the 2009 polls, BJP bagged 19 seats, Congress six and JDS 3. Two subsequent bypolls saw the Congress increase its tally to eight at the expense of JDS.
A resurgent BJP believes they are back in the reckoning, thanks to the big push given by the Modi factor which helped the party bury its image of being a corrupt party. It also reckons that the return of its Lingayat strongman B S Yeddyurappa has brought back the votes it had lost.
Among the keenly wat-ched battles is Bangalore South, where Infosys co-fou-nder and face of “Aadhar” programme Nandan Nilek-ani has given a run for the money to his formidable opponent Ananth Kumar (BJP), who is aiming for a sixth win in a constituency that, barring once has been impregnable to the Congress since the 1970s.
Karnataka is the only state where a former prime minister and five former chief ministers are in the fray – H D Deva Gowda (Ha-ssan), former CMs M Veerappa Moily and H D Kumaraswamy (Chikkaballapur), Dharm Singh (Gulbarga), Sadananda Gowda (Bangalore North), B S Yeddyurappa (Shimoga).