Siddaramaiah jostles for House Leader post; old guard resists move

Bengaluru | Updated on October 09, 2019 Published on October 09, 2019

As the Karnataka legislature is scheduled to meet for three days from October 10, to pass the State Budget, the Congress is a divided house with the old guard and former chief minister Siddaramaiah at war with each other.

Soon after the collapse of the Janata Dal Secular-Congress coalition government, party veterans have upped the ante for the bifurcation of the two posts — Opposition leader in the Assembly and Leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP).

AICC general secretary Madhusudhan Mistry was sent to Bengaluru to assess the situation and find a solution after consultations with MLAs and MLCs. Mistry, on Monday, held a series of meetings before leaving for Delhi.

“Majority of the MLAs who interacted with Mistry have supported Siddaramaiah’s candidature for the dual post — the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the CLP,” said a MLA, who did not wanted to be identified.

“The group supporting the former Chief Minister has also expressed concern over the division of the post, as it will create anarchy in the party and increase the number of power centres,” he added.

However, uncertainty looms over whether the Congress would follow the model adopted by it at the national level — appointing different legislators for both the posts.

Congress veterans cried foul over Siddaramaiah’s candidature. The old guards, it is said have pointed out to Mistry, Siddaramaiah’s conduct during the collapse of the JD(S)-Congress coalition. Also, they demanded bifurcation of the post.

As an alternative to former chief minister, they have propped up former ministers G Parameshwar and H K Patil to the post and while former ministers SR Patil and RB Thimmapur are vying for the post in the Council.

The delay in decision has put the Congress at crossroads.

An MLA allaying fears of infighting and groupism, said: “The party is expected to go slow on the appointments in the State. At the national level, the party president post is yet to be settled. State issues will be taken up only after that.”

Due to the rift between supporters of Siddaramaiah and party veterans, partymen are a worried lot over how to prepare for the Assembly session and face by-elections scheduled for December 5.

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Published on October 09, 2019
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