Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Monday claimed that following the BJP and JD(S) deciding to forge an alliance for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, several leaders from both parties have contacted him expressing their displeasure and wanting to join the Congress party.
The state Congress President also indicated that the Congress’ list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls is likely to be finalised before January.
”Following the BJP-JD(S) alliance, several BJP and JD(S) leaders have expressed their displeasure and are talking to me. I will have to discuss with the Chief Minister, some cabinet colleagues and party leaders. I have told them (BJP-JD(S) leaders) after discussion I will get back to them,” Shivakumar said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, ”Several BJP-JD(S) leaders — those who had won or lost — have expressed their desire to join Congress, stating that they are not happy with the alliance, as they were not consulted. I will first consult within (Congress). I have already asked local leadership to induct workers from other parties at their level.” The JD(S) on Friday decided to ally with the BJP following a meeting of its leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy with Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national President J P Nadda.
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Asked about anti-defection law, coming in the way of inducting BJP-JD(S) legislators into the party, the KPCC chief said, ”we are aware of the technical problems…. I won’t talk on that issue as of now.” Also, pointing out that most of the Ministers in the state government have been appointed as observers by the Congress party ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, he said, ”for 28 constituencies, one each — so, 28 Ministers have been appointed…. they will give two or three (candidates) names in eight to ten days. We will finalise as soon as possible.” Noting that one can expect Congress’ list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls to be out even before January, he said, ”It won’t be a surprise, if we release the list even before (January). We have asked for a report in ten days”. Shivakumar did not want to comment on a letter from Congress high command to state leaders not to discuss openly the issue of having more Deputy Chief Ministers in the state.
There have been voices within the state Congress, especially by Cooperation Minister K N Rajanna pitching for three more Deputy Chief Ministers in Karnataka ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls — for one each from Veerashaiva-Lingayat, SC/ST and minority communities.
The Congress had decided that Shivakumar will be “the only” Deputy CM amid stiff competition between him and Siddaramaiah for the Chief Minister’s post, after the Assembly election results in May this year.