Mysore: A day after polling, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah almost conceded defeat in Shikaripur, saying the byelection was too close to call, but predicted a Congress win in the Chikkodi-Sadalga and Bellary (ST) constituencies.
“Our internal report says it’s a close contest in Shikaripura and any party can win. The Congress also has a chance, but we have to remember the BJP hasn’t lost Shikaripur since 1983 except in 1999. BJP vice-president, B.S. Yeddyurappa has just won the Shimoga Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 3.5 lakh votes. I will consider Congress has done well even if we come close to winning. We put up a united fight and had the support of the local JD(S) unit as well. So, let’s wait for the result to be announced”, he told reporters on arriving at the Mysore airport for a series of government functions in the city.
Ruling out a cabinet reshuffle for the time being, he said the immediate objective was to fill the four cabinet slots that have fallen vacant. AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, Digivijay Singh, was expected to participate in the August 26 Congress coordination committee meeting, where all such issues would be discussed, including appointments to various boards and corporations, he revealed.
“Shuffling of portfolios has not yet been decided. I will have to speak to the high command before taking any decision. Only one or two portfolios may be changed,” he said. Rubbishing JD(S) supremo, H.D. Deve Gowda’s charge that he was trying to split his party, he claimed, “Some fence-sitters in JD(S) are desperate to jump ship, but the Congress has no interest in them and nor have they contacted us.”
Asked about Kerala’s decision to ban liquor, he said it was practically impossible. “In the past, the Karnataka government tried it but it failed,” he noted.
Mr. Siddaramaiah denied reports that the Congress high command had asked its Chief Ministers to skip Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s programmes after a couple of Congress Chief Ministers were booed by BJP supporters at such events. “I haven’t received any such directive and will share the dais with Mr. Modi, if the occasion arises,” he asserted....