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No internal rift, ruling Cong is united in Karnataka, asserts CM Siddaramaiah

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Siddaramaiah DK Shivakumar Karnataka

Siddaramaiah with D K Shivakumar (File image)

Mysuru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday denied any internal rift within the ruling Congress in the state, and asserted that the party was united.

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"Where is the rift within us? Is there a fight among us? They (BJP) saying it is different, they say it for politics....where is the internal rift?" Siddaramaiah asked reporters, responding to a question on state BJP leaders' statements that the Congress government will fall because of its internal rifts.

He said, "There is no internal rift among us. If there was internal rift, could we have done (faced) Parliament elections unitedly? There is no rift, neither inside, nor outside."

Reacting to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's reported statements regarding efforts to replicate the 'Maharashtra model' to topple the Congress government in Karnataka, the CM said, "They (BJP leaders) have been making such claims for a year now." "He (Shinde) is Maharashtra Chief Minister, instead of speaking about our government, let him save his government first," he added.

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BJP President B Y Vijayendra on Monday said his party will not make any attempt to pull down this government, but he cannot now itself predict the kind of unrest that will get created within the ruling Congress, after the Lok Sabha poll results are declared.

"As the party's state President I'm saying -- BJP is successfully functioning as a responsible opposition and we will continue to do so," he had said, adding that "there is no question of any operation, but we will not be responsible for the impact that the poll results will have on the ruling party." BJP and JD(S) leaders in the state have several times predicted the collapse of the government, hinting at a possible power tussle within the Congress, amid persistent rumours about leadership change in the ruling party in the state after Lok Sabha polls or mid-way of the current Assembly's tenure.

There was stiff competition between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for the CM's post after the declaration of Assembly election results in May last year, and the Congress had managed to convince the latter and made him the deputy chief minister.

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There were some reports at the time that a compromise had been reached based on a "rotational chief minister formula," according to which Shivakumar will become CM after two-and-half years but they have not been officially confirmed by the party.

Shivakumar has made no secret of his ambition to become Chief Minister, while Siddaramaiah had sought public support during the Lok Sabha polls so that the Congress wins maximum number of seats in the state, which would strengthen his position.

Siddaramaiah also expressed confidence about Congress winning the biennial election to six seats (three each from graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies) of the Karnataka Legislative Council on June 3.

"The atmosphere is good, the Congress party has taken this election seriously. We had announced candidates six months prior, so candidates got time to meet the voters," he said, adding that there will be no effect of the BJP-JD(S) alliance on the MLC polls, as they had been in alliance in the Parliamentary polls too.

Asked whether the pen-drive case (sex scandal involving JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna) will have its impact on MLC polls, particularly in the old Mysuru region, he said, "Pen-drive case has nothing to do with the polls, as voters here are graduates and teachers. They are politically aware voters, they have the strength to decide who is right and who is not, they do the comparison of Congress governments achievement here and the BJP at the Centre."

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