Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is said to be pushing for a change in the state Congress presidentship, as part of the measures to galvanise the party to face the Assembly elections next year.
Sources in the party said the chief minister has explained in detail to the party high command the need for replacing incumbent G Parameshwara, who has been doubling up as the party chief and the home minister. Siddaramaiah has recommended that a Lingayat leader be made the next president to steer the party in the next elections, the sources added.
Parameshwara, who is a Dalit leader, has been the state unit president for nearly six-and-a-half years. The chief minister and the KPCC president had been at loggerheads on many issues in the past. Differences between the two have again cropped up on who should claim credit for the party’s victory in the Nanjangud and Gundlupet byelections. Siddaramaiah has consolidated his position in the party after the byelection victories.
The sources said Siddaramaiah informed the high command that the byelections have shown that the party can penetrate the Lingayat strongholds. The byelections have also disproved a belief in political circles that Lingayats are strongly behind B S Yeddyurappa. Hence, a prominent community leader from North Karnataka should be made the KPCC president to woo the community, he suggested.
Names of former minister S R Patil and Water Resources Minister M B Patil are making the rounds for the post. Both are Lingayats. Siddaramaiah has not favoured a Vokkaliga leader for the KPCC post. Energy Minister D K Shivakumar, who is trying to project himself as the Vokkaliga face of the Congress after S M Krishna quit the party, is one of the aspirants for the post. But Shivakumar is not ready to give up his post as minister, the sources said.
The possibility of making a Dalit leader the state party chief was also discussed during the meeting. The chief minister has recommended PWD Minister H C Mahadevappa’s name as one of the key leaders of the community. Mahadevappa is a close associate of Siddaramaiah. He was the party in-charge of the byelection to the Nanjangud Assembly constituency. Mahadevappa has emerged as a prominent Dalit leader in the Old Mysuru region after the exit of V Srinivas Prasad. Former Union minister K H Muniyappa is also in the race for the post.
Sources said Parameshwara has been trying to continue as both the party president and minister. He is projecting himself as a successful pradesh Congress president and that he alone can take everybody along during elections.
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