BANGALORE: By inviting veteran Congress leader Shyamanur Shivashankarappa belonging to the Lingayat community from Davangere, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy has attempted a political manoeuvring.
This move is seen as an attempt to trigger a slow but steady exodus of leaders belonging to the Lingayat community towards the JD(S) not only from the Congress — it has very few leaders from that community — but from the BJP as well, a clever move to hit two birds in one stone.
The timing is also very significant because Lingayat MLAs in the BJP are unhappy with the “removal” of B S Yeddyurappa as the chief minister.
Speaking to Express from Chitradurga on Thursday, Kumaraswamy said he had invited Shivashankarappa so that his knowledge and experience in public life would be beneficial to the state in a better way. “I do not want to comment whether he (Shivashankarappa) is happy or not,” the JD(S) state president added.
When contacted, Shivashankarappa termed the report of his joining the JD(S) mere speculation. “It is true that Kumaraswamy had lunch in my residence, but that does not mean that it will lead to political developments,” he added.
He, however, evaded the question whether he would consider Kumaraswamy’s offer. JD(S) working president P G R Sindhia was rather diplomatic on the issue. He said Shivashankarappa was too senior a leader for any one of us to comment on and he was “wise to decide in the interest of the state”.
JD(S) sources, however, claimed that Shivashankarappa was unhappy in the Congress as the party high command had not taken any steps to win the confidence of the politically influential Lingayat community. This factor had made some Lingayat Congress MLAs quit the party and float the NCP, as a stopgap arrangement in order to have an understanding either with the BJP or the JD(S) depending upon the prevailing political situation during elections.
Apart from a psychological hit, the Congress will also suffer financially with the exit of this affluent leader.