Amid a contest of political one-upmanship over who would become chief minister should the Congress win the elections, DK Shivakumar clarified that the party will fight the 2023 elections under a collective leadership.

DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah raise hand to show unity in CongressScreengrab/INC Karnataka Facebook
news Politics Wednesday, August 03, 2022 - 18:42

Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah celebrated his 75th birthday on Wednesday, August 3, in Davanagere, where Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar, and various other Congress leaders attended the celebrations. Siddaramaiah said his friends and well-wishers believed it was imperative to raise a glass to this significant milestone in one's life for a leader who hasn't celebrated his birthday in 75 years.

In the midst of a political one-upmanship contest between DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah over who would become chief minister should the party win the elections in 2023, DK Shivakumar clarified that Congress would run for office under a collective leadership.

Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have both publicly said that the party's newly elected MLAs and high command will elect the Chief Minister following a victory in the elections, but their fans and loyalists have been projecting one over the other as the potential CM candidate, causing some rumblings within the party.

Speaking at his 75th birthday celebration, Siddaramaiah dismissed rumours of a divide between him and Shivakumar. It is an "illusion and creation" of other political rivals, he said.

Congress leaders cut cake on Siddaramaiah's 75th birthday

"Shivakumar and I are together. There is no difference of opinion between us,” he said, addressing the gathering, flanked by DK Shivakumar and Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi, while addressing the event, also said that the party leadership is united. “Seeing Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar hugging makes me very happy. This demonstrates how unified the Congress is, and it will also defeat the RSS and the BJP in Karnataka,” he said. "The Congress party is absolutely unified to defeat BJP and RSS in Karnataka," he announced, effectively sounding the election bugle.

Addressing the event, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the BJP, saying that "while the Congress administration unified the people and established harmony in the state, BJP is driving people apart and promoting animosity in Karnataka." Gandhi stated that if Congress is elected, it will provide a "clean and honest" government that will work for the state's future and not incite enmity.

Referring to three back-to-back murders in Dakshina Kannada, he stated that such violence had never occurred in Karnataka before.

Siddaramaiah also lashed out at the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai over the Dakshina Kannada murders, asking him to resign as he has failed to provide safety to the citizens. He said, “Are you even worthy to be the Chief Minister of the state? If you have any dignity, resign from the position. We will take care of the people.”

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