MANGALURU: Even as the suspense over who will replace BS Yediyurappa as Chief Minister continues, Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday bowled a googly at the BJP stating that it now has an opportunity to make a person from the Schedule Caste community as the state’s CM. He was in fact paying back in the same coin to BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel, who had recently challenged him name to name a SC as Congress’s CM candidate.
Speaking to reporters here, Siddaramaiah said that the Congress has made four SCs as CMs of different states. “Now, you (BJP) are removing Yediyurappa and you have an opportunity to make a SC the CM. You tell Kateel, who is very much concerned about SCs, to do it. BJP will not do it. They will only ask us to do it,” he quipped.
Meanwhile, the BJP hit back at Siddaramaiah with a series of tweets under the hashtag SiddaramnaiahAgainstDalits. The tweets said it was Siddaramaiah who suppressed the argument of a SC CM in Karnataka, had his hands behind the defeat G Parameshwara and Mallikarjun Kharge. Another tweet said that ‘Siddaramaiah talking about the issue is akin to the Gandhi’s talking about dynasty politics.’
Political experts see Siddaramaiah’s statement as a strategy aimed at dividing the SC vote bank of the BJP which could help the Congress to an extent in the next elections. However, according to them, it will not have any consequence on the BJP’s plans with respect to change of guard. Political commentator Prof Muzaffar Assadi said that the Congress is trying to exploit the fault lines in the BJP which is seen as wooing only Lingayats. “Such statements will not bother BJP as it has a fixed notion and must have already decided who will replace Yediyurappa. Siddaramaiah is hitting two birds with one stone with an eye on strengthening his Ahinda constituency,” he added.
“I don’t find SCs from either Congress or BJP standing a chance to become CM in the state. In the next polls, if the bargaining power of Siddaramaiah comes down, then Kharge may emerge as a dark horse,” he opined.