BENGALURU: The gloves are off. The simmering feud between Energy Minister DK Shivakumar and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah came out in the open on Wednesday with Shivakumar's brother and Congress MP DK Suresh hitting out against the party leadership for "ignoring him in the selection process of BBMP Mayor." Suresh has demanded the Mayor post this year for one of the corporators coming under his Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha constituency.
“I was kept out of the selection process of the Mayor for the last two terms. I will not remain a mute spectator if they continue to ignore me this time. I am the only Lok Sabha member of Congress with a constituency that comprises parts of BBMP areas. All the three Lok Sabha seats in Bengaluru city are represented by BJP,” Suresh told reporters on Wednesday.
The DK brothers have reasons to feel being muzzled by Siddaramaiah as the latter is said to have played a key role in foiling Shivakumar's bid to get the KPCC President's post. Suresh was kept out of the two meetings held recently to discuss selection of the new Mayor.
The party leadership had assured that talks with JD(S) on seeking the latter's support for Mayor election would be held under the leadership of Suresh. But Siddaramaiah, ignoring the promise, assigned the task to Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy. This move has not gone down well with the DK brothers.
Shivakumar's mother Gowramma had blamed Siddaramaiah for the I-T raids on his premises causing severe embarrassment for the Chief Minister. Later the brothers had played down the episode.
Suresh bats for Anjanappa or Velunayak as Mayor
Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Bengaluru South Assembly segments in the city are part of D K Suresh’s Lok Sabha constituency. Suresh has made a strong demand for giving the Mayor’s post to one of the Congress corporators from a ward in his constituency. The post has been reserved for an SC candidate this time and Suresh wants the post to be doled out to Velunayak, corporator from Rajarajeshwari Nagar, or Belur corporator Anjanappa.
Suresh defended his demand by stating that the areas that were newly added to BBMP continue to suffer from poor civic amenities like drinking water, sanitation and good roads. BBMP leaders and officials have failed to address the development needs of these areas. “Electing a Mayor from this area would give a big boost for speedy development of the area,” he said.
When asked whether his demand could be seen as dissent against party leaders, Suresh said, “I am not bothered if it is considered a voice of dissent as I am asserting my position as an MP of Bengaluru for the development of my constituency. I will think about future course of action if I am ignored again.”
Rajarajeshwari Nagar MLA Muniratna supported Suresh’s demand and announced his full backing for Suresh in his efforts to get the Mayor post for Velunayak or Anjanappa.
Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George tried to play down Suresh’s demand by stating that it is natural for any leader to demand Mayor’s post for a Corporator from his constituency. “I too would like to have a Corporator from my constituency. Ultimately senior leaders of the party will decide the candidate,” George said.
High Command will decide: CM
Reacting to DK Suresh’s demand, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed confidence of Congress getting the Mayor’s post this year too with support from JD(S). “The Mayor is elected after meetings with party corporators, MLAs, MPs and senior leaders. The party high command will have the final say,” he said.