BENGALURU: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s combative defence of Bengaluru Development Minister K J George, in a show of one-upmanship against BJP, could prove counterproductive for the Congress at a time when the Assembly elections are due.
Siddaramaiah, who had dropped George from the ministry when an FIR was registered by the state police in July 2016 against him in the DySP MK Ganapathy’s suicide case, sprung a surprise this time by not sticking to precedent when CBI has registered an FIR naming George as the first accused.
Congress’s strategy to use the George case to embarrass BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, who is facing a slew of cases of corruption, cheating and forgery, and also to dent Brand Modi by citing FIRs against 20 ministers in his (Modi) ministry is unlikely to impress the electorate as the Assembly election will be fought more on local issues and local leaders.
Has Siddaramaiah lost an opportunity to take the moral high ground by retaining George in the ministry? “Yes,” feel political observers. “There is no logic in Siddaramaiah’s argument that George need not resign as there are many ministers in Modi’s cabinet against whom FIRs have been filed. Congress has lost a good opportunity to take the moral high ground against BJP in the election season,” feels political analyst Harish Ramaswamy.
Expressing his views on the Congress’s strategy to defend George and launch a counter-offensive against Yeddyurappa and Modi, Ramaswamy feels, “Siddaramaiah could have disarmed BJP in the run-up to the polls by asking George to step down for now till the CBI completes its investigation. By defending George, Siddaramaiah has provided more ammunition for BJP.”
Faced with the challenge of overcoming anti-incumbency, Siddaramaiah could have used the issue to boost his image by easing out George for now. That would have proved a master stroke to disarm BJP and also lent credibility to Congress’s attack on Modi and Yeddyurappa, Ramaswamy said.
No Central minister involved in case, Javadekar tells CM
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is also the BJP poll in-charge for the state has denied CM Siddaramaiah’s allegation that 20 ministers in the Modi government have FIRs against them similar to the one registered against state minister KJ George.
“Not one FIR has been filed by the CBI and directed by the Supreme Court. The cases against BJP ministers pertain to an election petition filed by political opponents. Siddarmaiah is wrong in drawing parallels between George and BJP ministers,” Javadekar said ministers in Modi cabinet, Javadekar said that no FIR had been filed against minister Ananth Kumar and denied CM’s charge that the BJP was misusing the CBI. He said that DySP Ganapathy’s death needed an impartial enquiry.