Congress dissolves its Karnataka unit that lost Lok Sabha elections, retains state party chief
Rumblings within the Karnataka Congress have grown ever since the Lok Sabha poll debacle in the state. There have also been problems of coordination in the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in the southern state.Updated: Jun 19, 2019 23:40 IST
The Congress on Wednesday dissolved its Karnataka unit and removed all its office-bearers, save for the head of the local chapter, Dinesh Gundu Rao, and working president Eshwar Khandre, preparing the ground for an overhaul after its worst performance ever in Lok Sabha polls in the state.
“The AICC [All India Congress Committee] has decided to dissolve the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. Its president and working president remain unchanged,” Congress general secretary K C Venugopal, who oversees the party’s state unit, said in a statement.
The KPCC had 290 office-bearers, including former Central and state ministers, MPs and the state legislature and presidents of its district committees.
“The KPCC has been dissolved for restructuring in the aftermath of the party’s poor performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections,” party spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS in Bengaluru.
The Congress managed to win just one of the 21 Lok Sabha (LS) seats it contested in Karnataka, where it retained power in May last year after forming an uneasy coalition with the Janata Dal (Secular). Together, the two partners ended up with only two of the 28 seats Karnataka fills in the LS.
Senior leaders in the state unit said the move had been discussed for a while now. The party named Gundu Rao its state president in July after a seven-year stint by current deputy chief minister G Parameshwara.
A senior leader in the Karnataka unit, who did not wish to be named, said that attempted overhauls in the past had failed because such a massive surgery hadn’t been possible. The Lok Sabha poll debacle offered an avenue by proving that infighting had taken its toll on the Congress’s electoral prospects
Gundu Rao said that the party’s state unit had a lot of dead wood and that this was a change waiting to happen. “The last time there was a change in the committees was back in 2012, so the time was right to rectify some issues and to reward those who have worked hard for the party,” he said.