DK Shivakumar, the controversial, yet charismatic leader of the Congress has been tasked with bringing the party back to power in the next Assembly elections.
DK Shivakumar was appointed as the president of Karnataka State Congress over five months ago. His dream of taking oath in the presence of lakhs of cheering party workers at a mammoth public function has been shattered by the coronavirus pandemic. However, not losing heart, Shivakumar has decided to take charge at a one of its kind, mega virtual public meeting on Thursday.
His earlier plans were thwarted by the BJP government in the state on grounds of the lockdown. But after he threatened to go ahead with his virtual “Prathigna Dina” or oath-taking ceremony, irrespective of whether the government grants him permission, CM BS Yediyurappa relented and ordered the officials to allow the ceremony.
DK Shivakumar, the controversial, yet charismatic leader of the Congress has been tasked with bringing the party back to power in the next Assembly elections. A daring and non-conservative Shivakumar has already begun his work as the KPCC chief in style.
Even though the lockdown has restricted his movements, DKS is frequently seen raising his voice against the government.
To take charge, he has come out with an elaborate virtual public meeting. According to him, over 7,200 giant television screens will be set up across Karnataka. Each Assembly seat will have an average of 30 screens spread across the constituency. Shivakumar will take oath in Bengaluru in the presence of 150 party leaders.
The oath-taking will be telecast live across the state and around 150 people are expected to gather near each of the 7,200 giant screens. The programme will also be streamed live on television news channels and social media platforms. The party members, MLAs and MPs will all read out the preamble of the Constitution at all the 7,200 spots.
Shivakumar claims that over 10 lakh people will take part in his virtual public meet, making it the largest such congregation in history.
“The BJP is scared of me and the Congress. The people are angry with it over various issues including its inability to control coronavirus. They denied permission to me and delayed the event. The BJP is conducting this type of virtual meetings in election-bound West Bengal. Why can’t we do the same? After I threatened to go ahead with the oath-taking, the Yediyurappa government has half-heartedly given the permission” he said.
A dedicated team of loyal party workers spread across Karnataka has been working on this event for over a month. According to Shivakumar, they will fully comply with the protocol laid down to check the spread of coronavirus and there will no violations.
Known as a “bulldozer” in party circles, Shivakumar is a seven-time MLA and a powerful Vokkaliga leader who has been at loggerheads with the BJP for the last three years.
He was arrested and sent to Tihar jail in Delhi in connection with a disproportionate assets (DA) case, last year. After two months, he was released on bail and a few months later, he was appointed as the new chief of KPCC.
Recently, his daughter Aishwarya’s engagement with late VG Siddhartha, the founder of Café Coffee Day (CCD) group was held in Bengaluru, thus cementing the relationship with former chief minister SM Krishna’s family.
In a politically astute move, Shivakumar has backed former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s nomination to Rajya Sabha as a Congress-backed JDS candidate, earning the goodwill of Vokkaligas, who consider Gowda as their tallest leader.
DKS has to walk a tightrope as the former chief minister and leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah is not too comfortable with his rise and another aspirant for the top post, powerful Lingayat leader MB Patil also does not share a good equation with him.
The ruling BJP and the third party in the state JDS are keenly watching Shivakumar’s every move.