A full-page advertorial recently published in a newspaper featuring Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar has ruffled feathers among the political leadership in the state. The full-page spread, which ran on July 2, contained articles praising DKS' achievements in the state and the work done by him during the pandemic.
The ad, which was published in Deccan Herald and was titled 'A Life in Leadership' has led to outrage among several leaders who claim that promoting a leader over the party was unethical.
According to a report in The News Minute, the move has led to speculation over a potential rift within the party leadership with regard to projecting a Chief Ministerial candidate before the state goes to polls in 2023.
Congress, however, has denied such reports and said that the advert, which contained several articles eulogising Shivakumar, was done on the basis of a suggestion by the political PR company in charge of managing DKS' public image.
Retorting that it is "normal" for political parties and politicians to promote their work and inform the public of the initiatives it has taken.
"It’s been a year since (DKS) officially took charge on July 2, 2020. We are seeing a huge increase in the enthusiasm of the party cadre after he took over as the President. Not much needs to be read into the ads,” Congress spokesperson Lavanya Ballal told TNM.
Reports, however, suggest the existence of two camps within the Congress leadership in Karnataka, with one camp supporting Shivakumar as the CM candidate while the other projecting Leader of Opposition Siddharamaiah as the choice for CM.
The ad was published a day after the senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah asking MLAs not to project him as the Chief Ministerial face for the 2023 assembly polls on Thursday, amid widening fissures within the party on the issue, that has triggered a game of one-upmanship between him and state unit President Shivakumar.
His statement came amid a growing list of MLAs who openly favoured him as CM face despite diktat from the party leadership, which has irked Shivakumar, who is also nursing Chief Ministerial ambitions.
(With inputs from PTI)