Good show in LS polls will allow Siddaramaiah to continue as CM for 5 years

Bengaluru: A good show by the ruling Congress in the coming Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka would enable Siddaramaiah to continue as Chief Minister for a full term of five years without any hindrance, his son Yathindra said on Wednesday, sparking a debate on the vexed leadership issue.

After the Congress swept the Assembly elections in May last year, Siddaramaiah, who was engaged in a stiff competition with senior party leader D K Shivakumar for the Chief Minister’s post, was chosen to lead the government.

It was rumoured at the time within a section of the party that a power-sharing formula was struck under which Shivakumar would take over the reins from Siddaramaiah after two-and-half-years. There was no official word on this with speculation over the leadership issue refusing to die down. Speaking at a function in the district headquarters town of Hassan, Yathindra appealed to the people to continue their support to Siddaramaiah.

The Congress will have to face the Lok Sabha election in Karnataka under the leadership of Siddaramaiah. “In that election, under Siddaramaiah’s leadership, if we win a maximum number of seats, we will gain moral support (strength)”, the former MLA said.

He said the Congress government is spending about Rs 56,000 crore annually for implementation of ‘guarantee schemes’ for social welfare.

Perhaps no other government in the history of Karnataka took up welfare measures aimed at the common man and the poor on such a scale, according to him.

“We indeed have public support but you have to show that this government has people’s backing in the Lok Sabha election by winning maximum seats for Congress and strengthening Siddaramaiah’s hands. With this strength, it will be possible for Siddaramaiah to continue to offer these guarantee schemes for the next five years and continue to be Chief Minister for five years without any hindrance”, Yathindra said.