The legislative Assembly on Monday witnessed a lively debate on the ambitions of Opposition leader Siddaramaiah and Agriculture Minister Umesh Katti to become chief minister.
“I want to become the chief minister. I am not a hypocrite. But I know that in the Congress, the High Command decides on the CM candidate. If they make me CM good. Otherwise, no problem,” Siddaramaiah said during his speech on the Governor’s address to the joint session.
Katti also did not hide his ambition. He went one step ahead and announced that his son too would become the CM one day. It all started with Siddaramaiah highlighting the infighting in the BJP and accusing the government of being reduced to a minority after the resignation of a few BJP MLAs. Many more MLAs want to join the KJP led by BS Yeddyurappa,”he said.
Deputy Chief Minister KS Eshwarappa took objection and said: “No more MLAs will go to the KJP. You are trying to create confusion. You yourself have switched to the Congress from the JD(S). Nobody knows how long you will be in the Congress. Can you make a commitment on your association with the Congress?”
Siddaramaiah said that he was expelled from the JD(S) by Deve Gowda. “I was compelled to join the Congress. Had I not been expelled, I would have continued in the Janata Parivar. As long as I am in politics, I will remain in the Congress. Anyway, I will retire after five years as I will turn 70. I am not as healthy as Bachche Gowda (Labour Minister),” he added. Bachche Gowda retorted that Siddaramaiah is too eager to become the CM and hence is tense. “As I have no such ambition, I am healthy,” he added. Siddaramaiah said that in 1996, he had the support of a majority of MLAs. “But I couldn’t become the CM. In 2005, Deve Gowda told me not to attend the AHINDA rally. He threatened to expel me. I did not care and I lost the DyCM post. So I am not worried about power,” he said. However, Katti said that Siddaramaiah did not become CM in 1996 as his name was proposed by Gowda. Puttaraju alleged that Katti wants to make his son the CM by dividing the state.
“Yes. But there is a correction. I want to become the CM of Karnataka first and see my son as the CM of north Karnataka state,” said Katti. Siddaramaiah predicted that Katti’s future looks grim as he would be going to the KJP. “Why are you repeatedly saying that Katti will go to the KJP. I know CM Ibrahim met Yeddyurappa on your behalf,” Eshwarappa said. Siddaramaiah, however said that he had not given power of attorney to Ibrahim. “We are both different. I will never allow Ibrahim to take decisions on my behalf,” he said putting an end to the debate.