Karnataka

Tomorrow’s Congress meeting to decide new KPCC chief

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Siddaramaiah invited to attend meeting in Delhi

Amidst hectic lobbying for top posts by power groups within the Congress, all eyes are now on the AICC meeting on Tuesday where the appointment of KPCC president and a likely new Leader of the Opposition and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader is expected to come up for discussion.

Ever since Dinesh Gundu Rao and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tendered their resignations to the posts of KPCC president, and CLP leader and Leader of the Opposition, respectively, in the light of Congress receiving a drubbing in the bypolls, sections within the party have been lobbying intensively to secure these posts.

The discussion may have reached a final stage with leaders Madhusudan Mistry, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and K.C. Venugopal providing their inputs to the top AICC leaders, including interim president Sonia Gandhi. Mr. Siddaramaiah has been invited to Delhi for discussions on Tuesday. Sources close to former Minister D.K. Shivakumar claimed that he has also been invited to the meeting.

The key persons for appointment to these posts include Mr. Siddaramaiah, former Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, and Mr. Shivakumar.

Several permutations and combinations are at play along with strategies by leaders that are being worked out to gain an upper hand in the party. While caste combinations are being worked out, more importantly it is the balance between the power centres in the party that is making the appointments more complex.

Party sources said that while Mr. Siddaramaiah’s camp is keen on retaining its hold within the party, original Congressmen are equally trying to gain powerful posts. Mr. Shivakumar, who is known to have an uncomfortable relationship with the former Chief Minister, is being seen sympathetically by the party high command after he spent 50 days in Tihar Jail on the charge of money laundering.

In the race

Sources said that besides Mr. Shivakumar, another former Minister Krishna Byre Gowda from the Vokkaliga community, and two former Ministers M.B. Patil and Eshwar Khandre are also in the race with the thought of appointing leaders from dominant communities — Vokkaligas and Lingayats — to key party posts so as to recover lost ground in Old Mysore region and North Karnataka. Sources said that former Minister H.K. Patil has also put his hat in the ring.

Speculations are also rife that Mr. Siddaramaiah, considering his senior position and capability, could be taken into a national role by the party. However, a party source said that he was not keen to leave State politics.

When asked if the Congress will have a new Leader of the Opposition and CLP leader, sources in Mr. Siddaramaiah’s camp did not confirm or deny. “We do not know what the meeting’s agenda is. The issue may come up for discussion,” sources said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:24:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tomorrows-congress-meeting-to-decide-new-kpcc-chief/article30551814.ece

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