news Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | August 26, 2014 | 1.50 pm IST Karnataka Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa’s outspokenness, has earned him the ire of a senior member of his party, Digvijaya Singh no less, even as his party members suspect ulterior motives.  Visiting Bangalore for a review of the party affairs on Tuesday in the wake of the Assembly by-polls, Singh, General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee and the Karnataka in-charge, held a meeting with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Congress leaders, MLAs and ministers.  Singh was reportedly fuming throughout, angered by what he called Thimmappa’s “childish” comments over the last few months, the latest, being just a day before he visited the state Capital. Kannada news channel TV9 reported that during the meeting Singh expressed displeasure at the statement of the Speaker just a day before the state went to by-polls.  Accusing of the government of non-transparency Kagodu Thimmappa had said: “I don’t see any difference between the incumbent Congress government and the previous BJP government.” In the 15 months that the Congress government has been in power, Thimmappa has been outspoken in his criticism of the government, but this the first time he has been so sharp in pulling up the Congress government. On August 25, in an interview with The New Indian Express, Thimmappa was more nuanced. His words seemed more disappointed than critical. He told the newspaper: “I come from a land reforms movement (Kagodu Chaluvali). Now my only wish is to ensure regularisation of bagair hukum (cultivation of government revenue land) and forest dwellers’ lands. A cabinet berth is not even in the back of my mind. At this age, how can I tolerate such governance? What are we here for? Have we come here to party? It pains me to see such mismanaged administration.” He also appeared to have many expectations of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, like many socialists among the intellectual and cultural figures in the state. He told The New Indian Express: “is is what hurts me the most. For the first time, a genuine backward class leader has an opportunity to complete five years (as the chief minister). There is no strong opposition within the Congress unlike when Devaraj Urs and other backward class leaders were CMs. He is the whole and soul of the Congress and the government in the state. Such being the situation, he should have outdone Urs in giving good governance. He has given new programmes, but they are not reaching the people. I don’t know why this is happening with Siddaramaiah.” The grape vine however, is doing the rounds that Thimmappa not just wants to be made minister, but also has his eyes set on the chair of the very man he has given backhanded compliments to: Siddaramaiah. Speaking to news channels on Tuesday, he said: “No. Who should be made minister, who should be dropped, is the chief minister’s power. No one has the right to talk about that.” A reporter’s voice is heard in the background asking “But Digvijaya Singh is coming”. To this, the speaker said: “Who is Digvijay Singh? I don’t know...” On Tuesday, Digvijay Singh got back at him, saying that Thimmappa had made “childish” statements on the Floor of the Assembly and that it did not behove a senior leader to speak in such a manner, and it also reflected poorly on the party. With the results of the by-poll coming in, Siddaramaiah’s tenure may not end just a year after he came to power. But then again, B S Yeddyurappa won four trust votes during his roughly two-year tenure as the head of the first BJP government in Karnataka. Anything can happen.

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