The tumultuous relationship between coalition partners JD(S) and Congress came to the fore once yet again as an exasperated Karnataka Chief Minister (CM) H D Kumaraswamy on Monday (28 January) offered to relinquish his post if the Congress could not control its MLAs from frequently criticising his style of functioning. He lambasted the Congress for continuing to undermine his authority despite being part of the coalition government.
Objecting to statement made by Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) chairman and senior Congress legislator, S T Somashekhar, that for him and several others in the party, Siddaramaiah continues to be the state’s CM, Kumaraswamy said he is ready to tender his resignation.
Speaking to media in Bengaluru today, Kumaraswamy said “I am ready to quit if my style of functioning is not acceptable to anyone. The Congress must control its MLAs and resolve the issues. If they remark against me frequently in open meetings, I am willing to step down.”
The CM’s angry remarks came a day after two Congress ministers and a legislator on Sunday (27 January) alleged that no development work took place in the last seven-eight months under Kumaraswamy’s administration and claimed that former Congress CM Siddaramaiah continued to be their leader. They also said that Siddaramaiah was a better chief minister than Kumaraswamy.
The Congress ministers, Puttaranga Shetty, M T B Nagaraj and Congress MLA S T Somashekhar were addressing the people as chief guests during the inaugural of Kanaka community hall built by Kurubara Sangha in the city. Somashekhar had praised his political mentor and former chief minister, Siddaramaiah and expressed the view that he should be the chief minister of the state.
Countering the allegations, Kumaraswamy claimed that the coalition government had invested Rs 1 lakh crore in Bengaluru alone during the past eight months.
“I don’t want to stick on to the chair. Deputy Chief Minister (G Parameshwara) and myself are trying to do a good job and are working together,” asserted Kumaraswamy. He added that to deliver good governance he requires the support of all MLAs.
Kumaraswamy also issued a stern warning to Congress that he would no longer tolerate unruly conduct. "Congress leaders have been crossing the limits of understanding between coalition partners. Our patience too has a limit. If this behaviour continues, I am ready to leave," he said.
Sensing the gravity of the situation, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, Dinesh Gundu Rao, tried to play the peacemaker. He said that Somashekhar's statement does not behove his stature. "He should not have issued such a statement. I will serve notice on the MLA," he said.
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