The ongoing faction feud between the followers of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy D.K. Shivakumar once again came to the fore after a senior minister M.B. Patil asserted that Siddaramaiah would be at the helm for the entire five-year tenure of the government.
D K Suresh, Lok Sabha member and brother of Deputy CM reacted sharply to Patil's claim.
"I can also sharply say things, but let me not. I can respond to M B Patil's statement, tell M B Patil -- let that not happen," Suresh told media today.
"You (journalists) can meet AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala and collect additional information on Patil's statement," Suresh further added.
Shivakumar was, however, slightly more guarded in responding to Patil's statement.
"Let anyone say anything they want. The AICC General Secretary is there, the Chief Minister is there and the AICC President is there..." Shivakumar said.
According to supporters of Shivakumar, the Vokkaliga strongman agreed to back down from his determined bid for the chief ministerial post after the high command came up with the proposal of rotational Chief Ministers to break the stalemate which delayed an official declaration by the party.
Shivakumar has reportedly warned the high command that he may revert to his original decision of not joining the cabinet if the Siddaramaiah supporters continue to make 'provocative' statements.
The party's high command was locked in hectic parleys with both leaders before it could broker a power-sharing formula.
Speaking to the media on Monday (May 22), Patil had categorically asserted that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will complete his five-year term as chief minister and ruled out any power-sharing arrangement in the state.
"Siddaramaiah will be the chief minister for five years. There is no proposal of power-sharing for 30 months. There are no indications that D K Shivakumar will be the chief minister after Lok Sabha elections. AICC secretary Venugopal has not said any anything about power-sharing during the press meet in Delhi. Hence, Siddaramaiah will continue and complete five-year term," Patil, who is a camp follower of CM, said.
Patil was addressing the media after meeting Shivaratri Desikendra Swami seer at Suttur Mutt.
Responding to the furore over his earlier statement, Patil today (May 23) clarified that he has not said anything new. "I have reiterated what senior leaders announced in the press conference," he said.
After the end of the legislative session tomorrow, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar are expected to head to Delhi to meet the party's Central leaders to secure approval for inducting their supporters into the cabinet. Shivakumar has reportedly opposed the inclusion of Siddaramaiah's close associates like H.C Mahadevappa, K Venkatesh, and Dinesh Gundu Rao in the cabinet.
At least another 40 aspirants are said to be lobbying hard to make it into the cabinet.
AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday confirmed that the cabinet would be expanded soon. He claimed that the party would provide representation to small communities in the state Cabinet.
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