BENGALURU: Senior Congress leader BK Hariprasad the ministerial berth in the new Congress regime in Karnataka has indirectly flexed his muscle against the chief minister Siddaramaiah as the former issued a statement at his ‘ediga’ community meeting that he knows how to make one chief minister and also to dislodge.
“I had played a role in making the CMs in Goa, Pondicherry and Jharkhand (with my own efforts),in Haryana and Punjab along with the AICC leaders. I had made Bhupesh Bhaghel in Chhattisgarh who has been chief minister for six long years. So, I am well versed in making CM and making one step down”, he stated at the meeting of the community meeting held at a hotel here on Friday. He was not seen in the community’s meetings throughout his political career and now seemingly played a caste card as he was being sidelined, a source said. It created a sort of discomfort within the ruling Congress party giving an indication of the factionalism that prevailed in the grand old party as Hariprasad has been close to DCM D K Shivakumar.
The BJP has been quick to react as its state general secretary Ashwathanarayan felt that Hariprasad’s statement will be a turning point in state politics. “There is a truth in it as it has come from a senior leader who has been in New Delhi closely engaged in national politics”, said BJP state general secretary. The row with the sixty-eight-year-old Congress loyalist who never switched sides in his over forty-nine-year-old political career has created ripples, especially the ‘ediga’ community religious head Pranavanda Swamiji backing him to the hilt.
“It is not because of KPCC president D K Shivakumar and chief minister Siddaramaiah’s efforts the Congress came to power but it was also because of Hariprasad. As an opposition leader (in the Council) he should have been a natural choice for the chief minister post. If the high command fails to acknowledge it the Congress party has to face the wrath of the community in the 2024 LS polls``, he warned.
While speaking to this newspaper over phone from Kerala, which has been holding a meeting of the community members informed that a show of strength of the community will be held on Sept.10 in Bengaluru and still a big samavesha in January 2024 in Udupi. Replying to Hariprasad’s statement, housing minister Zameer Ahmed Khan hits out at Hariprasad saying that "one-upmanship will not work out in the Congress party. CM selection cannot be done by people like me, Hariprasad and Bandisiddegowda or Babanna. We have high command and our leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will take a call”, he stated.
“I have respect for Hariprasad as a senior politician. But someone cannot make Siddaramaiah step down from the CM post”, Youth empowerment and sports minister B Nagendra said in Ballari.
Home minister Dr G Parameshwara who refused to comment, clarified that CM Siddaramaiah is capable of replying to Hariprasad’s statement. In fact, Hariprasad at the community meeting alleged that there had been a conspiracy to snub the leadership and attacked Siddaramaiah as the latter did not keep up his promise of granting `5 crore to Koti Channayya park in Karkala.
“Politically he never helped me but I could help him”, he stated adding that he never felt let down for not becoming the minister. The national leader and former RS member Hariprasad who switched to state politics and became MLC was the leader of the opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council. But the party's high command made N S Boseraju as minister and MLC who eventually became the party’s floor leader in the house.