From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Sep 28: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President D K Shivakumar said the party was not worried about statements by different BJP leaders, including former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa or State BJP Chief Nalin Kumar Kateel, about luring 20 or more Congress MLAs and sarcastically said they are welcome to try and lure all 68 party legislators.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi during his visit to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former party president Rahul Gandhi and other Central leaders, Shivakumar said it is surprising that Yediyurappa claims that Congress MLAs were in touch with him for joining BJP while Kateel had claimed that 20 Congress MLAs are joining BJP and wondered why the BJP is delaying admission of the so-called Congress MLAs.
“Let them admit 20, 30, 40 or all 68 MLAs from the Congress party. I don’t know if they have considered admitting me and Congress Opposition leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah too,’’ he said making it clear that the party was not worried about such attempts or statements.
Shivakumar said in politics everybody operates secretly and they (BJP) is welcome to try and get Congress MLAs.
Answering questions from reporters, the State Congress Chief said the party was thinking of launching its own ‘operation hand’ to get MLAs from other parties. He pointed out that one BJP leader had claimed that 5 Congress MLAs will be admitted within 24 hours and now they are talking about getting 20 MLAs. “So, that makes the total 25. We don’t know what they are going to do about the rest or if they have considered me and Siddaramaiah,’’ he said: "Let them complete all their cinematic style announcements and operations indicating numbers. I don’t want to talk about numbers.’’
However, Shivakumar made it clear that those who believe in the Congress policies, ideology and leadership are welcome to submit their applications, which will be duly considered. “I have already made it clear that anybody joining the party following the due process must be welcomed unconditionally,’’ he said.
Asked about the statement by Congress leader Rajanna against JD(S) leader Suresh Gowda joining the party, the State Congress chief said he will discuss with Rajanna and find out the reason for his statement. “I will make sure that the dignity of both Rajanna and Suresh Gowda is not affected,’’ he said.
Shivakumar said he is willing to talk to all the 224 MLAs in the Assembly and has not differences with anybody while clarifying that he was not willing to share details of the number of JD(S) MLAs willing to join Congress. "We cannot disclose all such details with the media,’’ he stated.
Asked about JD(S) leaders on their Mission 123 campaign in the coming assembly elections, he said: “JD(S) has Mission 123 while BJP talks about Mission 150. But ours is Mission 224.’’
To a question on Siddaramaiah’s statement regarding the next Chief Minister, Shivakumar made it clear that he has no information on that. “Congress party is one big family and there are no conflicts or trouble in our family. What Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi decide is final,’’ he said.
On Election Commission announcing the dates for the two assembly by-elections from the State, he said the AICC has already announced the party candidate for one seat and the name of candidate will be finalised and sent to the party high command for approval. The decision of the high command is final. The candidate will be finalised in Bengaluru after talking to the senior leaders.
The list of office-bearers for the KPCC will be finalised. The issue has already been discussed with AICC General Secretary and party in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala and senior leader Mallikarjuna Kharge. It will be finalised and announced after the Ayudha Pooja next month, he said pointing out that all those keen to work for the party will be considered.
He refused to comment on the developments in the Punjab Congress and said he cannot speak on the subject as he is confined to State politics and was not working at the AICC.