A statement by KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar on Tuesday, alleging that Higher Education Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan had discreetly met KPCC campaign committee chairman M.B. Patil, has triggered speculations on cohesion in the party.
While both Mr. Patil and Mr. Narayan refuted that the alleged meeting had ever taken place, Mr. Shivakumar told presspersons here that the Minister had met Mr. Patil to request him not to raise the issues of corruption in his department.
‘To protect himself’
“The Minister met Mr. Patil to protect himself from the accusations of corruption in his department. He will justify this as purely a private meeting. He will say that since both run educational institutions he had gone to get suggestions,” said the KPCC chief, leading to speculations. When further probed, he said: “There is no need to have discussion on this any further. You can ask them.”
Mr. Shivakumar’s statement comes close on the heels of his verbal duel with the Minister recently in which people close to the Minister were accused of being complicit in the scam in the police sub-inspector recruitment. Mr. Narayan, who is in charge of Ramanagaram district, the home district of KPCC president, has been having a running feud in the last couple of months that is being seen as a turf war for influence in the Vokkaliga dominated district.
Mr. Shivakumar’s brother and Bengaluru Rural MP D.K. Suresh and Mr. Narayan had come close to blows on stage at a function in Ramanagaram in which Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai was present.
Out of turn?
Meanwhile, multiple sources in the party said that there was nothing wrong for the two leaders to meet even if they had indeed met. “Both know each other for some time now and their children are also friends. Mr. Shivakumar should not have spoken,” a Congress source said. Another source said that the KPCC president should have shown restraint and this development exposes chinks in the collective party leadership. “This statement will damage the party to an extent,” said a leader.