Shivakumar pans Kumaraswamy for taking BJP leaders along with him to meet key pontiff


PTI, Apr 10, 2024, 3:59 PM IST

Bengaluru: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Wednesday criticised JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy for taking along BJP leaders, who had allegedly brought down the previous Congress-JD(S) coalition government, to meet a pontiff of an influential math of the Vokkaliga community.

Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji is the head of the Adichunchanagiri Math, which is revered by the Vokkaliga community, to which both Shivakumar and Kumaraswamy belong.

Shivakumar, also the state Congress President, asserted that the JD(S) would lose in all four seats that it ”claims” it is contesting in, including Bangalore Rural from where its patriarch H D Deve Gowda’s son-in-law and eminent cardiologist Dr C N Manjunath is being fielded on a BJP ticket.

Sharply reacting to Shivakumar’s statements, Kumaraswamy said that he has never misused the math or Swamiji for the sake of politics. He also retorted that not only four seats, the BJP-JD(S) alliance will win all 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

”I have no issues with them going to the math and meeting Swamiji. They have done it today, I saw it on TV… Vokkaligas and the seers of the community are not foolish. They (seer) may greet the people who come to meet them, garland them and send them back. They (seers) don’t do anything on our behalf or on their behalf, I know that. …the people of the community are watching,” Shivakumar said.

Speaking to reporters here, he pointed out that Congress candidates had recently met the Swamiji at his suggestion, following which the JD(S) leader has now taken BJP candidates along with him.

Stating that the Swamiji should have questioned the BJP about bringing down the ”Vokkaliga community CM” (Kumaraswamy in July 2019), Shivakumar said, ”I’m not aware whether Swamiji has that much strength to question. Those (BJP leaders) who had gone today (to the math) were the ones who brought down the Vokkaliga CM, no one can hide the truth.”

He further said, ”What Deve Gowda had said about (BJP leader B S) Yediyurappa then and what Yediyurappa had said against Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda, no one can hide them. What kind of words were used, I have never spoken such words. There were even allegations of phone tapping, including Swamiji’s phone…I don’t want to speak about it. Swamiji may get upset.”

The Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government collapsed in July 2019 after the resignation of 17 MLAs from the two parties. Kumaraswamy and Congress leaders had then accused BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ for the government’s collapse.

Stating that he has never — while in power or when out of power — misused the math or the seer, Kumaraswamy reacted to Shivakumar’s statements, saying, ”It’s with god’s blessing that I was in power for some time. I have not misused the seer’s name, I need not learn from him (Shivakumar). It is, in fact, they (Congress) who have tried to misuse the seer.

The JD(S) leader further said, ”What was their conduct when they came here recently? Congress, which claims to be secular every day, is indulging in nothing but caste politics. What morality do they have to speak about secularism… People are not fools they are watching.”

Hitting back at Shivakumar for saying that Swamiji should have questioned the BJP about bringing down the ”Vokkaliga community CM”, Kumaraswamy said, ”Why should the seer ask? Why should the seer be pulled into politics. Swamiji is our religious and spiritual guru, why should he be misused for politics…”

Without naming Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Kumaraswamy said, ”Everyone knows another Congress leader with him (Shivakumar) was the reason for the confrontation.”

Shivakumar said that since the Congress has given tickets to eight Vokkaligas in the Lok Sabha polls, including two from the Reddy community, and because he himself is from the community and is serving as the state Congress president and deputy chief minister, its people will not vote for other parties.

”We are ready for everything, to serve the people, the society and the state. Leaving us, who are in power, our people are not foolish to think about what will happen after four years (next assembly polls),” he said.

Stating that the JD(S) would fail to open its account in the Lok Sabha elections, Shivakumar said: ”This is my firm opinion…take it from me, JD(S) will not win all four seats. Deve Gowda is speaking about winning four seats, including the seat that the BJP is representing (Bangalore Rural). If he was so confident, they should have made him (Dr C N Manjunath) contest on the JD(S) symbol.”

The JD(S) is contesting in Hassan, Mandya and Kolar, while as per the arrangement with its alliance partner BJP, Manjunath is contesting on the saffron party’s ticket from Bangalore Rural segment.

Reacting to this, Kumaraswamy later said, ”Including Manjunath and our (JD(S)) three candidates, we will win all the 28 seats, not just four… He (Shivakumar) might be speaking about his party not winning any seats.”

Asked about the JD(S) seeking votes for Kumaraswamy in Mandya stating that he may become a union minister, Shivakumar said, ”Let him become central minister or go to even higher post…let good things happen to him. My wishes are there.”

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