S. Rajendran

Important posts are held by former Janata Dal leaders

Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit Bangalore on Saturday

Bangalore: The Congress in Karnataka is facing a major problem — that of increasing animosity between those who have grown with the party and identify themselves as “loyalists”, and those who joined the party in recent years, particularly from the Janata Dal (Secular).

In a sense, the State Congress has been “captured” by erstwhile Janata Dal (Secular) leaders who, following differences with the H.D. Deve Gowda family, have crossed over to the Congress in the past decade. All important positions in the State unit of the Congress are now largely with former Janata Dal leaders, including that of president of KPCC (R.V. Deshpande), president of the Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress Committee (Krishna Byre Gowda) and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council (V.S. Ugrappa).

An electoral understanding with the Janata Dal (Secular) in the Lok Sabha polls has become a difficult task for the Congress as the new entrants are totally opposed to the idea. In fact, they prevented an alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) during the recent byelections for eight Assembly constituencies, in which the Congress received a drubbing.

Senior Congress leaders told The Hindu that in this context, the services of the former KPCC president and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Mallikarjun Kharge were very much required for the State unit of the party. Sources in the Congress said that Mr. Kharge would be fielded for the Gulbarga reserved seat and the party high command wants him to shift to New Delhi. Mr. Kharge is a nine-time MLA who has served as Minister in successive Congress governments from the days of the D. Devaraj Urs Government (1972-80).

AICC general Secretary in-charge of the State Ghulam Nabi Azad, who will be visiting Bangalore on Saturday is expected to meet all the senior leaders of the State unit to gear up for the crucial Lok Sabha elections. Those rallying behind Mr. Kharge are expected to demand that his services are required in Bangalore more than in Delhi.