Congress supremo who is on a visit to Karnataka was greeted with black flags by the Madiga community who had been demanding reservation. Sonia is here to review the drought situation and also take part in the birthday celebrations of Shivkumar Swamiji of the powerful Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur.
The Madiga community had led a delegation to New Delhi a month back and had sought reservation for their community. However they complained that despite an assurance nothing was done and hence they protested with black flags when Sonia visited the state.
However all eyes were on the birthday celebrations which Sonia attended today. Political observers said that her visit was more to garner support of the Lingayat community which holds the key to a major share of the votes in Karnataka. This vote share was enjoyed by the BJP all these years. However many in the Congress felt that Sonia’s visit to the mutt which is the abode for Lingayat’s in Karnataka could change the fortunes of the Congress.
Sonia during her address said that the Congress at the centre had implemented educational programmes to benefit all sects of society and added that it should be implemented everywhere. She also praised the seer (Shivkumar swamy) for his work in the field of education. We all should follow his path and the path laid down by him in the field of education has been followed by the Congress government. It is a privilege to congratulate swamiji and my pranams to him for showing us all light, she also added.
Sonia would also visit a village and review the drought situation in the state. She will meet a couple of people affected due to drought.
It looks like it would be an all out Congress affair at the 105th birthday celebrations of Shivkumar Swami the head of the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur. The Bharatiya Janata Party leadership which came to power with the support of the Lingayat vote bank in the state will stay away from the celebrations to be held tomorrow.
B S Yeddyurappa who had found every solution in the Siddaganga Mutt has made it clear that he would stay away from the celebrations. However he did not make it obvious that he is staying away because Sonia’s presence. I have some prior engagements, Yeddyurappa said. In fact Yeddyurappa and his men had two weeks back expressed unhappiness over the huge Congress presence at the mutt, but they were told that it was too late to cancel as they had already committed to the Congress supremo taking part in the function.
Chief Minister D Sadananda Gowda too has not confirmed his participation in the event. He is expected to make some announcement later tonight.
Sonia Gandhi will arrive in Karnataka tonight at 9 PM and will take part in the programme tomorrow at the mutt in Tumkur. She is also expected to visit a drought hit village and inter act with the residents over there.
The BJP has been saying that she is visiting the mutt only to garner the support of the Lingayats who are a deciding factor in every election in the state.
B S Yeddyurappa does not show signs of giving up. First he tried and pressurised his party’s central leadership by showing the support of his loyalist MLAs and now he has decided to take them on with the support of the people.
Yeddyurappa has now planned a mega convention to be held in Tumkur on January 19th. Over here he would looking to address a mammoth gathering and then declare himself as the undisputed leader of the BJP. The rest of the party has however not identified itself with this convention proposed by the BJP. Yeddyurappa’s enemies within the BJP have however decided to keep mum on the issue. They say that they would decide about whether to take part of not in a couple of days.
In case the anti Yeddyurappa faction decides to stay away from this convention then it would put the split further out in the open. Yeddyurappa on the other hand would like to show his party that he not only enjoys the support of 40 MLAs but is also wanted by the people of the state. He has also chosen the venue of the convention very carefully as Tumkur houses the Sidda Ganga Mutt which is the most powerful of the Lingayat Mutts in the state of Karnataka. Yeddyurappa had said that he would wait until the 14th of this month and see if the central leadership would offer him a better post in the party. It now appears that he has got signals that his party has no intention of giving him a better post as a result of which he has decided to put more pressure in the form of this convention.
The battle between Yeddyurappa and the rest of the party is something that has had a mixed reaction in Karnataka. Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda who was installed by Yeddyurappa says there is no cause for concern and the problems would be sorted out soon. The RSS too has taken this matter very personally and has pulled up both Yeddyurappa and state BJP president, K S Eshwarappa while asking them to sort out their differences instead of battling in public.
The Congress on the other hand which lacks any momentum in Karnataka in terms of winning elections has however decided to wake up to the situation and plan its strategy. Within the Congress they sniff a snap poll in the state as they believe that Yeddyurappa may pull down the government. They have decided on having a mass contact programme in the state between January 9 and 12 where they would meet with people and chose candidates for the next assembly elections. G Parameshwar, the Congress chief in Karnataka said that there is a break down of the system in the state and the need for an election has arisen.
However those who have been following Yeddyurappa say that the Congress would need to wait before jumping to any conclusion. It is unlikely that Yeddyurappa will take a hasty decision so soon. His plans of floating a regional party may not go through as he himself is aware of the poor showing that regional parties have had in Karnataka. The other chances are of Yeddyurappa joining the NCP or the JD(U), but then again it would not be a hasty step as the man himself knows that he is a cadre based politician and is identified because of the BJP.