Pressure appears to be mounting on Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology B. Ramanath Rai to quit as president of the District Congress Committee (DCC).
After the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), headed by G. Parameshwar, decided to implement the ‘one man, one post’ norm, the Congress circles were abuzz with the news that Mr. Rai is among three ministers who was specifically asked to vacate the party post on Thursday. The other two ministers to whom letters have reportedly been sent by the KPCC are Dinesh Gundu Rao (Food and Civil Supplies and president of Bangalore Urban Congress Committee) and H.S. Mahadeva Prasad (Cooperation and president of Chamarajangara District Congress).
A top leader, who has held posts with the KPCC in the past, told The Hindu that the KPCC had sounded out its office-bearers more than four months ago that ‘one man, one post’ would have to be complied with. Some leaders including Sharana Prakash Patil (Minister for Medical Education and then president of Gulbarga District Congress Committee) had complied with and had resigned from their party posts. He said the appointment of a new president could not be delayed any longer as the Lok Sabha elections were around the corner. “You cannot have a new district leader just when elections are announced,” he said.
A senior leader pointed out that Mr. Rai hardly got time to attend to party affairs after becoming a minister.
Former vice-president of the DCC and secretary of the KPCC Ivan D’Souza said that Ibrahim Kodical was the in-charge president and the functioning of the party had not been affected. However, he agreed that the party should have a functioning full-time president. Mr. Rai had promised to step down immediately after laying the foundation for the party office’s new building. A plot has been sanctioned for the building near Lions Seva Mandir in Kadri and the foundation for the building would be laid soon, Mr. D’Souza said.
Party leaders hinted the in-charge president is unlikely to get the top district job.