Siddaramaaiah and Shivakumar show Congress how to bury differences and face BJP – ThePrint
Bangalore: It is not often that a state legislature sees salutes of humble idlis, vadas and masala dosas. But on Monday, as Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Opposition Leader Siddaramaiah argued over the price hike, their argument turned to the high price of eating idli and dosa at a popular restaurant. among the politicians of Karnataka.
Former CM Siddaramaiah made a relaxed but hard-hitting argument about rising prices for items like steel, cement, cooking oil, diesel, and food, and set the restaurant example. To counter this, CM Bommai presented the rate card from the same place.
âI too eat in this hotel mentioned by Siddaramaiah. After he asked how expensive the food in hotels had become, I brought their rate card. Two idlis cost Rs 35 in 2017 and Rs 26 in 2019. Now they cost Rs 38. A masala dosa costs Rs 90 now; it was Rs 80 last year. This price increase is common. How is that a big deal? To suggest that the hike is because of us (BJP) is wrong, âBommai told the assembly.
Siddaramaiah retorted that the masala dosa actually costs Rs 100 and invited Bommai to have a snack with him. âI’ll foot the bill, don’t worry,â Siddaramaiah said, slamming MPs around the house.
This lighter moment came in the midst of some heated discussion during the current assembly session. Armed with issues such as rising prices, national education policy, Covid, law and order and Kalyana Karnataka’s board of directors, Congress presents a united front against the BJP government, despite the problems between the different party camps which continue to simmer.
Read also : Siddaramaiah alleges Modi government used Pegasus to overthrow Karnataka’s Cong-JD (S) government in 2019
Divided by the camps, united by the stakes
On the first day of the legislative session, September 13, leaders of Congress arrived at Vidhana Soudha in oxcarts. On their return this Monday, September 20, they went to the secretariat by bike.
These two protests weren’t just meant to grab public attention and grab public attention – they were attempts to embarrass the government about rising fuel prices and inflation.
The Karnataka Congress appears to be able to counter the government better than the party does in other places where it is in opposition, political analysts say, and it has to do with the state’s unique politics. .
âThe efforts of the party heads of state are more effective because of Karnataka’s unique policy, not because of Congress. In Karnataka, the fight takes place between the BJP and the Congress, a bit like in the case of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan or Himachal Pradesh, etc. (The difference is that) the BJP is a major player in these places but not in Karnataka; it still struggles to find its place in the state, âA. Narayana, political analyst and faculty member at the School of Public Policy and Governance at Azim Premji University, told ThePrint.
âIn Karnataka, the congressional rival has not achieved sufficient strength to pose a challenge that he should be worried about,â Narayana said, noting that although the BJP has twice become the largest party, he never beat the Congress vote. part in the polls of the assembly.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Chairman DK Shivakumar and Congress Legislative Assembly Party Leader Siddaramaiah, whose struggle for party control is no secret, have shown unity posing side by side for the media.
Priyank Kharge, president of the computer and data cell of the Karnataka Congress, does not deny that there is a difference of opinion between the leaders. âIt’s natural to have different points of view, but there are mechanisms in place to address them,â he said.
âIt’s a two-pronged strategy. The president of the KPCC (Shivakumar) will conceptualize and decide on the protests outside the assembly, while the head of the PLC will decide what issues we raise in the House. This time, we have decided not to protest in the well of the House and instead demand responses from the government, âadded Kharge.
Shivakumar’s multitude of campaigns
In May 2020, when Shivakumar wrote a check to the Karnataka Transport Corporation to pay for return tickets for migrant workers during the first Covid lockdown, he not only embarrassed the then government of CM BS Yediyurappa by announcing the gratuity trips for migrants, but also assured the party leadership was inspired by it.
Within two days, Congress called on all of its state units to pay for migrant workers’ tickets.
Then, in May of this year, Siddaramaaiah announced at a press conference that the party would raise Rs 100 crore to vaccinate all citizens of Karnataka for free. The party has organized hundreds of relief kit distribution camps and vaccination camps across the state in recent months.
On Wednesday, Shivakumar shared a four-and-a-half-minute video on his social media pages, launching a campaign to shed light on oxygen deficiency deaths in Karnataka during the second wave of Covid with #ChamarajanagaraInsideStories.
This is just the latest in a series of new media campaigns the Vokkaliga strongman team has launched, including #OnduPrashne, seeking government responses to a hot issue of the week; a #VaccinateKarnataka contest, where he announced 100 Android tablets as prizes for schoolchildren, encouraging them to make videos on the importance of vaccination.
Earlier this year, Shivakumar joined DesignBoxed, a Punjab-based political strategy management firm, much to the chagrin of many leaders in Karnataka. All of its social media campaigns are part of the strategy to build the company’s image for the leader. These campaigns, however, are centered on Shivakumar.
2023 polls up for grabs for Congress
Even before Yediyurappa’s release as CM in July this year, Congress criticized the BJP for being a divided house in the state. Ironically, despite the party’s public display of unity, insiders agree that there are camps and factions, and that the cracks run deep.
In the recent Karnataka Youth Congress elections, Shivakumar supported Mohammed Nalapad while Siddaramaiah supported Raksha Ramaiah. Another camp, led by BK Hariprasad and G. Parameshwara, supported HS Manjunath. The results were delayed for several months due to lobbying, influence and internal feuds among senior leaders.
Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar are also divided on whether to allow defector lawmakers to return to the party – the PLC leader vehemently opposes it, while Shivakumar has a more liberal stance.
Congress has yet to appoint members of its various committees after their disbandment in June 2019 by then party leader Rahul Gandhi.
The leadership brawl stems from a fundamental question: who is the greatest leader? The answer holds the key to control of the party and its prospects in the next parliamentary elections. But for now, the cracks have also started to appear locally.
âEven at the national level, Congress is seeing changes in its leadership style. DK Shivakumar has not yet captured the imagination of the people, unlike Siddaramaiah, who is still the most important leader, âsaid Professor Narendar Pani, political analyst and dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the National Institute advanced studies.
âShivakumar will have to run faster and faster to stay still. He has to keep doing things to stay where he is now, âhe said.
A. Narayana agrees with Pani. âWhen DK Shivakumar became president of Congress he was expected to revive the party, but that did not happen. Siddaramaiah surpasses Shivakumar although he is not acceptable to middle class voters, who hate him, âhe said.
But despite all these challenges, political analysts believe that the next legislative elections scheduled for 2023 seem winnable for Congress.
âThey are winnable for the reason that voters in Karnataka keep changing ruling parties, and also because the BJP is not in great shape. Although Congress appears united, there is an underlying stream of rivalry. (But) he has time to dispel that image to limit the damage, âNarayana said.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)
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