:JD(S) Karnataka chief H Viswanath's remarks on Siddaramaiahs performance as Chief Minister in the previous government triggered a war of words between the two leaders Sunday, with the latter saying he will raise it in the next Congress-JD(S) coalition coordination committee meeting.
The slugfest between two top leaders has come at a time when speculations are rife about the longevity of the coalition government after the Lok Sabha poll results, given the rift between the parties on various issues.
The growing clamor within Congress for CLP leader Siddaramaiah to become Chief Minister once again is the reason for the spat between two leaders,as the miffed JD(S) President raised questions about his performance as CM in the previous government and termed the demand as "chamchagiri" (flattery).
"Siddaramaiah has completed five years as Chief Minister. Let"s see, its left to the people (to decide whether he should become CM once again)...
Unnecessarily some of our friends (in Congress)...I shouldnt use the word...but are speaking like chamchagiri, Vishwanath told reporters.
Taking a jibe at the chorus for Siddaramaiah as Chief Minister once again, crediting him with "equality for all" in government policies and schemes,he asked if no Chief Ministers in the past, including Devaraj Urs, Ramakrishna Hegde and H D Deve Gowda had given such an administration.
"What is so special (about Siddaramaiah's rule)...was his administration greater than Devaraj Urs? People remember Devaraj Urs even today after 30 years.
Was there anything great that happened during his tenure to remember it for decades? What major developmental work happened? Nothing..." he said, noting that he was also among those who worked for Siddaramaiah to become CM.
Terming the the clamor for Siddaramaiah to become Chief Minister once again as "mischievous attitude", Vishwanath said Congress MLAs and Ministers must stop it.
They should not be an obstruction for coalition dharma by unnecessarily talking about the Chief Minister's post when it is not vacant, he said.
"You (Siddaramaiah) can become Chief Minister in 2022 (after the next assembly polls) if you want," he added.
Sharply reacting to this, Siddaramaiah said Vishwanath was speaking out of "jealously" and added that he would raise the issue at the next coordination committee meeting.
"...I will talk about it in the coordination committee. I will not speak publicly on it," he told reporters in Kalburgi district.
Noting that the S M Krishna government, in which Vishwanath was also a Minister, was defeated in the subsequent assembly election, Siddaramaiah said "he (Vishwanath) is speaking out of jealousy. Dont give importance to what he says."
Over the last few days, several Congress leaders, including Ministers in the Kumaraswamy led government, have clamoured for Siddaramaiah becoming Chief Minister once again.
Despite Siddaramaiah's clarification that the Congress leaders' demand was due to "affection" for him and ruling out the possibility of change in the top post held by Kumaraswamy, MLAs and leaders considered close to him have continued to do so, upsetting JD(S) and the incumbent Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, reacting to Vishwanath's statement, KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said it was 'not necessary' to talk of such things now as the Congress leadership had already clarified there would be no change in the Chief Minister.
"Also, those demanding that Siddaramaiah be made Chief Minister again have made it clear that they want to see him as CM after the next election," he said.
Claiming that the Congress vote share was was highest in 2018 assembly polls, reflecting the Siddaramaiah government's policies, he said "everyone should follow coalition dharma... those holding responsible positions should think and talk."
There are discussions within politicalcircles that any adverse results for the coalition in the Lok Sabha polls, which they fought in alliance, would have its implications on the Kumaraswamy-led government.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)