BENGALURU: A sharp division among leaders of the coalition partners in Karnataka is clearly seen with Janata Dal (Secular) state president AH Vishwanath and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accusing each other of not adhering to the "coalition dharma" on key issues. The flare-up between the two leaders can complicate matters for Congress and JD(S) further after the growing 'Siddaramaiah for CM' clamour within the state Congress. The call irked JD(S) leadership, with Vishwanath responded by asking Congress leaders to not resort to "chamchagiri (sycophancy)", and questioning Siddaramaiah's ability as an administrator.
"What is so special about Siddaramaiah's rule? Was his administration greater than that of Devraj Urs? People remember Devraj Urs even today, after 30 years. What great administration happened during Siddaramaiah's time to remember it for decades? What major developmental work happened? Nothing," Vishwanath said.
A miffed Siddaramaiah tweeted that he would raise the matter before the coordination committee. "Earlier it was state Higher Education Minister GT Deve Gowda making such comments, and now it's Vishwanath. Who is going to be next? It'll help if seniors in the Janata Dal (Secular) take note of this," he said, adding that "coalition dharma" was the only thing holding him back.
Responding to Siddaramaiah's tweet, Vishwanath asked, "The coordination committee has been formed for coalition dharma. Do discuss this before the coordination committee. You are the chairman there. Who has stopped you from saying in the coordination committee that you want to be the Chief Minister?" He said though Siddaramaiah had been the chairman for a year, the common minimum programme has not been prepared yet. "Siddaramaiah may want to become the Chief Minister again, but it won't happen before 2022," he added.
Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who belongs to the Congress, also called it "inappropriate" of Vishwanath to speak against the coordination committee at a time when both the parties need to stand together. Meanwhile, as the two leaders sparred, the opposition BJP claimed that Vishwanath's remarks were only a reflection of the general feeling in the Janata Dal (Secular). "It is not a statement by Vishwanath but something that Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy wants to convey through him," BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa said.
Even during the Lok Sabha elections, squabbling between coalition partners was quite evident in several key constituencies such as Tumakuru, Hassan and Mandya from where JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, his grandsons Prajwal Revanna and Nikhil Kumaraswamy contested, respectively.