Dinesh Gundu Rao named Karnataka Congress chief, Eshwar Khandre working president
Gundu Rao, considered a safe and non-controversial choice, enjoys the backing of former chief minister Siddaramaiah. Both he and Khandre were contenders for ministerial berths in the Kumaraswamy government.india Updated: Jul 04, 2018 18:41 IST
The Karnataka Congress tried to balance varied caste and regional aspirations in the party by naming four-time Brahmin MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao as its new state chief and Lingayat legislator Eshwar Khandre as its working president on Wednesday.
While Gundu Rao - the son of a former Congress chief minister - was the minister for food, civil supplies and consumer affairs in the erstwhile Siddaramaiah government, Khandre served as the former state minister for municipalities and department of public enterprises.
The race for the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) presidentship had been intensifying ever since incumbent G Parameshwara was sworn in as the deputy chief minister in the Janta Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government. Parameshwara is one of the longest-serving presidents of the KPCC, having been in office since 2010.
Gundu Rao, considered a safe and non-controversial choice, enjoys the backing of former chief minister Siddaramaiah. Both he and Khandre were contenders for ministerial berths in the Kumaraswamy government. The move to appoint a Brahmin and a Lingayat to the top positions of the KPCC is seen as a move to ensure that castes which felt left out of the Vokkaliga-dominated state cabinet were accorded enough representation in the party.
Senior political analyst Mahadev Prakash said Gundu Rao’s appointment to the position of KPCC president was along expected lines. “With the general elections just around the corner and the state being headed by a coalition government in which Congress has a stake, the party has opted for a youthful leader to ensure its preparedness for upcoming challenges. More importantly, the new KPCC chief has the backing of Siddaramaiah. Khandre was appointed to please the Lingayats, who were feeling left out,” he added.
A senior BJP leader refused to comment on the development, stating that taking a decision on KPCC positions was part of the Congress’s internal affairs. “We will continue to highlight the failures of this unholy coalition government,” he said.
First Published: Jul 04, 2018 18:20 IST