Days after two videos of Siddaramaiah candidly deriding the state government went viral on social media, the former Chief Minister chaired a meeting with eight party MLAs and two ministers of the state. The development appears to have ruffled the feathers of leaders in the coalition government in the state.
Siddaramaiah, who is in Dharmasthala undergoing naturopathy treatment, has on multiple occasions stated that the new government in the state should present a supplementary budget since the Congress has already presented a full-fledged budget in February.
On Wednesday, he met ministers Shivanand Patil (Health and Family Welfare) and Ramesh Jarkiholi (Municipalities and Inland Transport) along with MLAs in a meeting that lasted half an hour. He has also raised doubts whether the government will last a full five-year term.
Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara however sought to play down the rumours of a rift between Siddaramaiah and other members of the alliance. "We have discussed with Siddaramaiah, President of the Coordination Committee, about all topics, whether it is about appointing district ministers or appointing heads of different boards," he said speaking to reporters on Thursday. He also reiterated that the coalition government would last the full term of five years.
However, Siddaramaiah was once again absent in a meeting of Congress leaders to discuss their preparation for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The timing of the meeting has given way to fresh speculation that Siddaramaiah is unhappy at being sidelined from the activities of the newly formed government.
The fact that Siddaramaiah mostly met AHINDA leaders also led to the speculation that he was consolidating his position as the most prominent leader in the communities. AHINDA is a Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and dalits.
The Congress formed a coalition government in the state last month along with the JD(S) under the leadership of JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, subsequently Siddaramaiah was then made the head of the Coordination Committee of the newly elected government.
The first meeting of the committee was held on June 15 in which they decided to continue all schemes started by the previous government led by Siddaramaiah. The next meeting will be held on July 1 before the Kumaraswamy government is set to table a new budget on July 5.
Farmer loan waivers are expected to be announced on the same day, as promised by Kumaraswamy before elections.