Bengaluru: Karnataka Tourism Minister Anand Singh’s meeting with state Congress chief DK Shivakumar on Monday has triggered speculation about the former joining the ranks of the Congress after reportedly being unhappy with the BJP leadership.
The two leaders held a closed-door meeting of about 30 minutes at Shivakumar’s residence. What transpired between Singh, who arrived in a private car, and Shivakumar is still unknown. However, there are speculations that the minister might switch sides ahead of Assembly elections in the state, scheduled to be held next year.
Denying any political discussions in the meeting, Shivakumar said that they held discussions related to the tourism industry in his constituency Kanakapura.
“I have seen the Tunga Aarti program. I have appealed to the minister to do a similar programme at the confluence of Mekedadatu with the intention of developing tourism. The minister has assured that he would send a team,” Shivakumar told reporters after the meeting on Monday.
Dismissing all speculations, Shivakumar said, “If Anand Singh comes to our home, how can that be a political move? No one does that. To talk politics, we would either go to a hotel or guest house. He came to meet in person to give an explanation of a proposed program.”
“There was nothing else to do besides this in the meeting,” he added.
Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar had recently claimed that some BJP leaders are in touch and are likely to join Congress ahead of Assembly polls.
The meeting between Shivakumar and Singh came a few days after Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai reshuffled the responsibilities of some ministers, who were in charge of their home districts and put them in-charge of other districts over which they are reportedly disgruntled.
In the reshuffle, Anand Singh lost charge of the newly-created Vijayanagara district and was given charge of Koppal. Following this, he met the Chief Minister and former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.
When asked about his meeting, Bommai said that there is no need to comment and added, “Ask him about it if more details are required.”
Highly placed sources in the BJP have said that Anand Singh was upset with the Chief Minister’s decision over his appointment to Koppal as he was aspiring to be the guardian minister of the new Vijayanagara district.
Notably, Anand Singh quit Congress in 2019 and was the first of the 17 MLAs at the time, which led to the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government, paving way for the BJP regime in Karnataka.
Anand Singh has been a four-time MLA from Vijayanagara (Hospet) constituency. In 2015, he was arrested in the Belekeri iron ore scam and was later released on bail.