BENGALURU: Yet again, senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar proved that he is the leader to depend on during the crisis within the party. Though many senior leaders were directly involved in finalizing the strategy to defeat BJP during trust vote, the crucial task of keeping MLAs away from BJP’s reach was given to Shivakumar and team of Congress leaders.
A senior Congress leader, who was in the know of the developments, said two days before the assembly elections results were announced Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi had spoken to Deve Gowda and discussed possibility of forming a coalition government. “The decision was announced on May 15 and party assigned different works to different leaders. Shivakumar and few other leaders were taking care of the MLAs, which was the crucial job,” he said.
In 2017, the former minister had coordinated Gujarat Congress MLAs stay in the state during Rajya Sabha polls in that state. Shivakumar was raided when he was staying the resort with Gujarat MLAs. Congress won RS elections in Gujarat and eventually, the party had rewarded Shivakumar for efforts by making him Chairman of Campaign Committee ahead of assembly elections.
“This time too, Shivakumar was handling everything from taking MLAs to a resort in Bidadi to moving them to a hotel in Hyderabad. He had got his own people in place to assist him in the task,” said a Congress leader. He also played a key role in contacting Congress MLAs Anand Singh and Prathap Gowda Patil, who joined the Congress camp only during the session on Saturday.
“We will contact them within 24 hours and they will be with us,” Shivakumar had stated on Friday night when reporters questioned him about possibility of those two MLAs joining the BJP camp. On Saturday, Shivakumar along with other senior leaders KPCC president G Parameswara, Ramalinga Reddy, MB Patil and Dinesh Gundu Rao were busy ensuring that all MLAs are in the House and the party whip is served to them.
Congress sources said decision to support JD(S) was taken by Rahul Gandhi, AICC General Secretary-in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal coordinated between national leaders and state leaders in working out a strategy. Former CM Siddaramaiah, KPCC president G Parameshhwara and Shivakumar played a key role in implementing that strategy. Many senior leaders, including Shivakumar were staying with the MLAs in the resort and ensure that they are not contacted by BJP leaders, who were allegedly trying to woo them.