Cong puts out Siddaramaiah, Shivakumar ‘bonhomie’ video ahead of polls

New Delhi: The Congress has put out a two-part video of its leading chief ministership aspirants — Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar — engaged in a candid conversation about the polls and disgruntlement in the BJP, in a show of camaraderie and bonhomie ahead of the May 10 Karnataka polls.

A video released Monday, the second in two days, shows the two leaders presenting a united front in the polls and exchanging notes on the Congress campaign.

Significantly, media reports in the run up to the elections had claimed that the two leaders had been engaged in one-upmanship for the post of chief minister in case the Congress wins but the two have denied such claims and asserted that they are fighting the polls unitedly and would abide by the party decision on the chief ministership.

Asked about reports of infighting in the party, Karnataka Congress chief Shivakumar had told PTI, “The fact is that the Congress leadership is united and the party workers are very active in spreading our message both on the ground and in social media. We are putting a combined effort to ensure that the Congress comes back to power with a clear majority.” On him being a strong contender for the post of chief minister, Shivakumar said, “For me, the party comes first and the chief ministership comes later. On the CM issue, I will abide by whatever the party decides.” Siddaramaih has also stated that there are no differences between him and Shivakumar politically.

“He is an aspirant, I’m also an aspirant. In democracy anyone can have aspiration. I don’t think it is wrong to have an aspiration in democracy. The opinion will be collected after the election; based on the opinion of the MLAs the high command will take a decision (on CM),” he had told PTI last month.

In the video shared by the Karnataka Congress Twitter handle, Shivakumar and other party handles, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar discuss the Congress’ prospect while expressing confidence that the party will get a majority on the back of its “guarantees” to the people.

“An important issue addressed in our manifesto is the creation of employment in two-tier cities,” Shivakumar says in Kannada to Siddaramaiah in the video.

The two leaders also hail ‘Indira canteen’ initiatives of the party with Siddaramaiah saying that they would re-start the initiative when they come back to power.

Shivakumar predicts in the video that the Congress would at least get 141 seats in the assembly elections.

“I was looking at a recent survey, BJP won’t win more than 62 seats, JD(S) might get around 22-23. There could be three independent candidates,” Shivakumar says.

In the over eight-minute video, Siddaramaiah tells Shivakumar, “People have faith in us because they have seen us fulfil all our promises. So people, especially women believe the guarantee card given, signed by both of us.” The two leaders also discuss disgruntlement among senior BJP leaders in Karnataka, leading to the crossing over to the Congress of former chief minister Jagadish Shettar and former deputy CM Laxman Sangappa Savadi.

“Shettar was one person who had a good image even while being part of the BJP. He wasn’t even allowed to go on stage during prime ministerial visits…Laxman Savadi sacrificed his position as MLC and joined the Congress. They are all leaders who have been CMs and deputy CMs,” Shivakumar says.

The first part of the interview was released on Saturday night.

Sharing the first video, the Congress, from its official Twitter handle said Sunday, “We are stronger together. This conversation between @INCKarnataka President Shri @DKShivakumar and CLP Leader Shri @siddaramaiah is a sign of mutual respect and bonhomie in Karnataka Congress.” “Kannadigas will put their faith in our guarantees. A united Congress is winning Karnataka with 150+ seats!” the party had said.

While Siddaramaiah, who was the chief minister from May 2013 – May 2018, is contesting from Varuna constituency, Shivakumar is fighting from Kanakapura.

The elections for the 224-member Karnataka assembly will be held on May 10 and the counting of votes will take place on May 13.