The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) has set up a coordination panel to improve the rapport between the Congress and its government in the State.
The panel, planned nearly four months ago, is intended to keep a check on the functioning of the government, more so, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, although guidelines for it have not been finalised yet.
It is common knowledge that the divide within the ruling party continues and is merely under wraps at the present juncture with the government still in a “honeymoon period”. Mr. Siddaramaiah emerged stronger after the splendid victory of the Congress in the Legislative Assembly elections and recently held byelections to two seats of the Lok Sabha — Mandya and Bangalore Rural — which were hitherto with the Janata Dal (Secular).
The timing of the announcement of the coordination panel’s constitution is all the more relevant as it has been done just days ahead of AICC president Sonia Gandhi’s visit to the State. Ms. Gandhi arrives in Mandya on Monday to thank the voters of the State.
The coordination panel is the brainchild of AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka Digvijay Singh. He will arrive in Bangalore on Sunday. Mr. Digvijay Singh is the chairman of the panel and among the members are KPCC president G. Parameshwara and the Chief Minister apart from party leader D.K. Shivakumar, whose brother D.K. Suresh won the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seat by a thumping margin.
Mr. Siddaramaiah has maintained that he has no opposition to the formation of the coordination panel, since it would mean that he will be voicing his resentment against the desire of the party command, more so, since AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi was reportedly keen on constituting a coordination panel.
Sources in the KPCC told The Hindu that the formation of the panel was delayed as the Congress high command was busy with various other pressing issues apart from the Parliament session. Next on the cards is a review of the functioning of the Ministers in the Siddaramaiah Cabinet, and here again the Chief Minister objected to this arguing that the government has just completed four months in office and it was early for an assessment. The KPCC president has said that Mr. Rahul Gandhi is keen on the assessment and that it will be done by mid-October.
The need to constitute the panel comprising senior KPCC leaders has been the demand of some leaders who are upset with the style of functioning of the Chief Minister. There is also the grouse that excessive weightage has been given to the close followers of Mr. Siddaramaiah who were associated with him in the erstwhile Janata Dal.