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It may be truce for now, but as bypolls near, the Shivakumar vs Siddaramaiah fires are on a slow burn

It is no secret that the ruling Congress in Karnataka is faction-ridden, with two main groups, respectively led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM plus Karnataka party president D K Shivakumar. After intermittent bouts of sparring since the party came to power in 2023, the hatchet was temporarily buried before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

But now that the polls are over, the factions are back taking swipes at one another. Supporters of Shivakumar – who has made no bones about coveting the CM seat – have rekindled his bid, pointing fingers at the party’s lower-than-expected performance in the Lok Sabha polls in the state. Siddaramaiah’s coterie, in turn, is trying to pin the responsibility on Shivakumar, besides trying to dilute his powers by re-raising the demand for three more Deputy CMs.

Despite the Congress improving its seat count in the state by eight, the Lok Sabha poll results were not up to its expectations. The results were particularly a setback for Shivakumar, whose younger brother D K Suresh lost from his home region — the Bengaluru Rural constituency – to a BJP-JD(S) coalition candidate, while the Congress itself failed to win more than one of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in South Karnataka. Shivakumar has positioned himself as an alternative to former PM H D Deve Gowda and his son, ex-CM H D Kumaraswamy, as the leader of the dominant Vokkaliga community in the region.

However, with the Congress facing Assembly bypolls for three seats over the next few months, on account of their MLAs getting elected as MPs – the JD(U)’s Kumaraswamy from Mandya, the BJP’s Basavaraj Bommai from Haveri, and the Congress’s E Tukaram from Ballari — Shivakumar sees a fresh opportunity to achieve his goal.

And this has resulted in

Read more on indianexpress.com