Karnataka Congress leaders battle for CM post ahead of 2023 assembly polls

Published on Jul 07, 2022 04:23 PM IST
The party high command has yet to announce a candidate, but there are already several camps within the state unit dropping names.
The battle for dominance within the Congress party in Karnataka has once again made news as Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah and state party president DK Shivakumar were summoned by the high command to resolve differences. (ANI)
The battle for dominance within the Congress party in Karnataka has once again made news as Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah and state party president DK Shivakumar were summoned by the high command to resolve differences. (ANI)
ByYamini C S | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan

The Congress plans to win 130+ seats in next year's Karnataka assembly election but seems still not be able to present a united front with senior leaders vying to be seen as next in line for the chief minister's post, leaving workers confused.

The party high command has yet to announce a candidate, but there are already several camps within the state unit dropping names. News agency ANI quoted a senior leader as saying a 'damage control' policy is needed right now.

"It is clear in the Karnataka Congress many faces want to be 'CM candidate'. The two factions are confusing their own party workers. It's not only former CM Siddaramaiah (who lead the Congress government for a complete five-year term in Karnataka) or DK Shivakumar (who is leading Congress in Karnataka after being appointed as president) but many seniors on the list" he said.

Read: Gap between Karnataka Cong leaders widens again in battle for CM post

The Congress high command had earlier stepped in with diktats asking all party leaders to stop dropping chief ministerial names.

Former minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan is one of those to have declared Leader of the Opposition and ex-CM Siddaramaiah the next CM.

This was taken with a pinch of salt by loyalists of DK Shivakumar and other factions within the party, even as stalwarts Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have themselves quashed rumours on multiple occasions.

Shivakumar said, "The party is more important than a person."

Apart from the two, Dalit leader Dr G Parameshwara, national general secretary and Maharashtra in-charge HK Patil, senior Panchamasaali Lingayat leader MB Patil, and Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge, with Lingayat aspirant Eshwar Khandre and others are also on the potential 'CM waiting list'.

Read: Karnataka Cong reunites after DKS, Patil call 'truce'

Shivakumar said, "If the Congress wants to achieve their dream of 130-plus seats in Karnataka Assembly, which their own survey teams are assuring them at present, Congress needs to be aware of another Ashok Gehlot vs Sachin Pilot fight in Karnataka, or else it will become another drama stage for Congress to "solve" issues once again. Karnataka Assembly election will be the final test for Congress in the country after losing the coalition government in Maharashtra."

Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah have had several meetings with Rahul Gandhi, KC Venugopal and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Surjewala on these issues.

The controversy over the CM post rose anew after Siddaramaiah's loyalists announced a month-long programme in his honour as part of his 75th birthday celebrations. The massive convention, called ‘Siddaramotsava’, is set to project Siddaramaiah and his contributions, which is being seen as an attempt to send a message to the party high command ahead of polls.

Rahul Gandhi is also likely to participate in the event, ANI reported.

Also Read: Congress leaders and volunteers asked to troll me: Divya Spandana

About the birthday bash, DK Shivakumar on Wednesday said he had no objections, but that his priority would be the celebrations of India's 75th Independence day, as directed by the party high command.

(With agency inputs)

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