Karnataka State Congress yet to decide on opposition leader
Several MLAs have backed former CM Siddaramaiah's claim for the coveted post enjoying the rank of a Cabinet minister, but the Congress high command is said to be in no mood to hurry through the decision.
Several MLAs have backed former chief minister Siddaramaiah's claim for the coveted post enjoying the rank of a Cabinet minister, but the Congress high command is said to be in no mood to hurry through the decision. AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry has already interacted with the Congress lawmakers in Bengaluru on Sunday on the Opposition leader’s post as well as whether the party should replace the incumbent president at its state unit.
The party high command will watch how its leaders will take on the BJP regime led by BS Yediyurappa in the Assembly. The Congress is preparing the ground to launch an aggressive attack on the government on the issue of providing relief to flood-hit areas.
According to party leaders, the Congress is said to be planning to implement a one-man-one-post rule in Karnataka as well. If that happens, then Siddaramaiah will have to settle for just one position — as head of the legislature party or the party MLAs in the Assembly. The legislature party, however, includes members from the Legislative Council, as well.
After a long time, stiff resistance is building up within the state Congress with a section of senior Congress leaders including former minister HK Patil, former railway minister KH Muniyappa and former AICC general secretary BK Hari Prasad attempting to rein in Siddaramaiah’s influence in the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC). The party state president, Dinesh Gundu Rao, is also a staunch loyalist of the former CM. Former minister HK Patil has made a strong bid for the Opposition leader’s post. Patil represents Gadag in the north Karnataka region.
A few of the Congress leaders are said to have urged Mistry not to split the two positions, while backing Siddaramaiah’s claim. The former CM, they said, still wielded a lot of clout among the voters, and the party did do well in last year’s Assembly polls in terms of voter percentage, they are said to have argued. Some leaders in Delhi believe Siddaramaiah could have saved the previous JD(S)-Congress regime, and are said to be upset that he let it fall to settle an old score with the Deve Gowda family.
Strong groupings have emerged in the Congress with several leaders seeking a distinction as original Congressmen. Many Congress leaders including Siddaramaiah, RV Deshpande and CM Ibrahim cut their political teeth fighting the Congress in the heydays of the grand old party. Siddaramaiah’s proximity to Rahul Gandhi is well known, but with political equations changing in the AICC with Sonia Gandhi returning to actively control the party affairs, Congress old timers are making every possible attempt to limit Siddaramaiah’s influence.