- SM Krishna's sudden resignation from the Congress party came as a shock.
- However, speculation is rife that the move may have strategic undertones.
- The move, which could backfire, places men like DK Shivakumar, in the forefront in Karnataka.
There is intense speculation about the fallout from SM Krishna's resignation. One of the major theories is that the resignation was planned to help his loyalists. When it comes to appeasement of all kinds, the Congress is generally at the forefront. The party usually seems to believe in keeping all factions happy by offering them plum posts in the party and the government.
These calculations seem to have gone slightly awry in Karnataka, where the rise of Kuruba community leaders within the Congress is ever more apparent in CM Siddaramaiah-led Congress government. Siddaramaiah himself is a powerful Kuruba leader. The latest upheavals in the party seem to indicate that the high command is unable to satisfy the Gowdas in Karnataka (another powerful faction), who belong to the Vokkaliga Community.
SM Krishna, the former Chief Minister and a Vokkaliga, is seen as a leader who has risen above caste. But it is also true that he was the only leader from the Vokkaliga community who has enjoyed power in the state.
However, of late, the community is not happy as Siddaramaiah has dropped Housing Minister Ambareesh from the cabinet. And now, with the exit of Krishna, the vacuum of the Vokkaligas could mar the chances of the Congress in South Karnataka.
"As the Gowdas were being sidelined in the party, the need for a next generation leader who could be the face of community to bargain for power was strongly felt. Congress has managed to get Kurubas, minorities and other backward classes. If Vokkaligas, who now mostly support the JD(S), tilt towards the Congress, the party can put up a strong fight against the BJP. For that, the party need to think about filling up the vacuum created by SMK. And this vacuum was planned to bring in his loyalist, DK Shivakumar," said a source from the Congress.
Shivakumar was seen along with party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi during the Kerala election campaign. This further strengthened his connections in Delhi.
"As DK Shivakumar could not directly lobby for such an opportunity, he probably approached his political godfather SM Krishna. Realising that the party was not showing interest in senior politicians whose age played against them, perhaps SMK might have thought that he could have a say in the party only by pushing DK Shivakumar as KPCC president," said another leader of the Congress.
Muzaffar Assadi, a political analyst, Musuru University, said that this strategy might boomerang on the Congress as DK Shivakumar was mired in controversy.
"SM Krishna was a class leader, but he quit party. Now, Siddaramaiah, a Kuruba, has the edge as he is accepted by the other backwards classes and minorities. To be sure, he has given portfolios to leaders from communities like the Vokkaligas and Lingayats, so the Congress cannot just think of any replacement for Siddaramaiah," he said
Sandeep Shastri, Pro Vice Chancellor, Jain University felt otherwise. "What needs to be taken more seriously is his allegations against the party of disrespecting seniors, rather than adding any motives," he said.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:47 PM