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HomekarnatakaNew power politics? Dinner meet triggers buzz in Karnataka Congress

New power politics? Dinner meet triggers buzz in Karnataka Congress

Bengaluru: A closed-door “dinner” meet-up Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had with his Cabinet colleagues G Parameshwara, Dr H C Mahadevappa and Satish Jarkiholi late Friday night birthed talk of political realignment within Congress that could determine the next course of the government’s leadership.

That this meeting happened without Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar has set tongues wagging that efforts could be on to curb him and his chief ministerial ambitions.

The dinner was hosted by Parameshwara at his Sadashivanagar residence. It is said discussions took place for nearly three hours on the current political developments.

Talk in Congress circles is that scenarios of a change in leadership came up during the meeting amid buzz that a midterm power-sharing pact would see Shivakumar become the CM, which Siddaramaiah is reportedly not in favour of.

Apparently, Parameshwara’s name was discussed as a potential CM candidate. A six-time MLA and a former state Congress chief, he has earlier expressed his desire to become the CM — he will be the first Dalit to occupy the chair if that happens.“Nothing of the sort,” Parameshwara said when asked about him being in the CM’s race. “It was just a courtesy dinner.” He did not comment when asked about the optics of hosting a dinner without inviting Shivakumar.

Another view in the Congress is that the meeting was aimed at Siddaramaiah consolidating his position by reaching out to Parameshwara. So far, Parameshwara was seen as being equidistant from both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar.

Jarkiholi, the public works minister, is said to be having a turf war in Belagavi with Women & Child Development Minister Laxmi Hebbalkar, a Shivakumar loyalist. Mahadevappa, the social welfare minister, is a Siddaramaiah loyalist. Accordingly, the meeting — going by the participants and circumstances — is seen as an bid to keep Shivakumar under check.

“When political leaders meet, we will discuss politics,” Jarkiholi said on the meeting. On change in leadership, he said: “Only the high command can offer clarity.”Before leaving for Telangana, Shivakumar issued a “last warning” to partymen against talking about the party’s internal matters.

(Published 29 October 2023, 00:02 IST)

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