Karnataka

Lobbying on by camps in Karnataka Congress for key posts

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Amid hectic lobbying between the “original Congressmen” and “migrants” for the posts of KPCC president and Leaders of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council, AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry confabulated with more than 60 leaders from across the camps within the party on Sunday.

While Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah’s camp is believed to have pitched for the former Chief Minister holding both the posts of CLP leader and Leader of Opposition, the “original Congress leaders” are understood to have asked for the posts to be split between him and another leader, with the former retaining the post of CLP leader. Party sources also said that the “original Congress” camp sought replacement of Dinesh Gundu Rao as KPCC president over his alleged failure to ramp up the party’s organisation. Besides, some leaders favoured maintaining regional and caste balance when appointments are made to these posts.

By Sunday evening, after most of the leaders had expressed their opinions to Mr. Mistry, a known follower of AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi, it was learnt that Mr. Siddaramaiah’s camp had presented a set of signatures of leaders insisting on Mr. Siddaramaiah being both CLP leader and Leader of Opposition.

According to sources, senior leader and former Minister H.K. Patil also made a strong pitch for the post of the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. Former Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara is trying for that post of that of KPCC chief. He has been KPCC president in the past. Both leaders are understood to have told Mr. Mistry that they favoured splitting the posts between different leaders, with Mr. Siddaramaiah remaining CLP leader.

Meanwhile, S.R. Patil — backed by the old guards — and C.M. Ibrahim, supported by Mr. Siddaramaiah’s camp, are lobbying for the post of Leader of the Opposition in the Council.

Sources, however, said the appointment to Leader of Opposition may not happen before the legislature session, as the opinions of party leaders differ radically. The new KPCC president can be appointed only in December, after the bypolls. “With Mrs. Gandhi back as president, those who had aligned with Rahul Gandhi could be ignored,” a source said.

Mr. Patil told reporters that the State leaders have given their opinions on strengthening the party and on division of power. “Ultimately, the high command will take a call.”

Argument for common choice

While Congress leaders have been lobbying for splitting the CLP and Leader of the Opposition posts between two leaders, a section of party leaders believes that this will set a bad precedent and, more importantly, create parallel power centres.

“This will lead to the creation of powerful camps — one following the CLP leader and another following the Leader of the Opposition. This will reduce the synergy and common focus will be lost. Not to speak on ego clashes between leaders that could eventually jeopardise the party’s prospects,” a party leader said. He added that there has been no such division of power in the past.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 2:10:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/lobbying-on-by-camps-in-karnataka-congress-for-key-posts/article29612296.ece

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