Mysuru: Agriculture Minister Shivashankar Reddy on Monday said former chief minister Siddaramaiah could become the chief minister again if coalition partners – Congress and JD(S)- decide so in the coordination committee meeting.
Mr Reddy was speaking to the media during his visit to Amruthabhoomi in Chamarajnagar on Monday. Reddy's remarks coming days after Siddaramaiah's comments about becoming chief minister again fuels speculation that all is not well within the Congress-JDS coalition.
To a query on the government's future, Reddy said, “We all fought elections under the leadership of Siddaramaiah. Though there were possibilities of Congress coming to power and he becoming the chief minister, due to reasons better known to all, we could not get the majority. Thus, he lost the chance of becoming chief minister again.” “Suppose tomorrow the two parties (Congress and JD-S) sit together at the coordination committee meeting and take some decision for some change, then the change will happen,” he told reporters.
A similar reaction came from Congress MLA and former JD(S) leader Cheluvaraya Swamy, who too backed Siddaramaiah and flayed those who were trying to “isolate” the former chief minister. “Nobody can isolate Siddaramaiah. He has the leadership quality. A towering personality, Siddaramaiah is honest and has done lots of good work,” he said.
He said the election results might have been adverse due to caste-based politics but Siddaramaiah provided governance for five years that was admired across the country. “Though the Congress got only 80 seats under Siddaramaiah's leadership, he remains unquestionable in the party,” he said to a question about alleged efforts within and outside the party to prevent Siddaramaiah from becoming chief minister again.
Addressing party workers in Hassan district on Friday, Siddaramaiah reportedly said if people wish, he will become chief minister again. The former chief minister's remarks kicked up a row with some seeing it as having an unsettling effect on the JDS-Congress government. Asked if he wants to be chief minister, Siddaramaiah later said, “If people bless me, I will want to become the chief minister, but not now. After five years when next election is held." Responding to Siddaramaiah's comments, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has said anybody could become chief minister in a democracy.
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