Chief Minister K Siddharamaiah will be the party’s face in the Karnataka Assembly polls, the Congress today said as it asked state Home Minister G Parameshwara to quit the Cabinet and devote himself to his duties as PCC chief. Gearing up for the Assembly polls due next year, the party restructured its state unit while accommodating all castes and sections.
“The Congress president and vice president have decided that the coming election of the state will be fought under the leadership of K Siddharamaiah, the present chief minister of Karnataka,” a statement from AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said. Parameshwara will devote all his time and energy for the party affairs and will resign from the state Cabinet immediately.
The statement also said that S R Patil has been appointed as the working president of KPCC along with present working president Dinesh Gundurao. While Gundurao will take care of the party affairs in southern Karnataka, Patil will take care of northern Karnataka.
The party also appointed D K Shivakumar, a minister in the state government, as chairman of the campaign committee for the coming elections. Party MP and former Union minister K H Muniyappa has been included as a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee, a top decision-making body of the party, while another tribal leader from the state Satish Jarkiholi has been appointed as an AICC secretary.
The party leadership has come out with a “please all” formula by playing a balancing act by accomodating all castes and communities. While Siddharamaiah is a leader from the Kuruba Gowda community, both Parameshwara and Muniyappa are Dalit leaders from the state. Jarkiholi is a tribal leader.
By appointing Patil, a Lingayat leader and Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga leader, the party has sought to reach out to both the dominant communities. Both Shivakumar and Patil were contenders for the PCC chief’s post. BJP leader Yeddyurappa also belongs to Lingayat caste. BJP chief Amit Shah has already announced that Yeddyurappa will be the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the May 2018 elections.
The changes come after Rahul Gandhi held a strategy meet with all top leaders of the Congress party from the state, including Siddharamaiah and party general secretary in-charge, K C Vengugopal. Former Union ministers Mallikarjun Kharge and M Veerappa Moily besides B K Hariprashad and other top state leaders participated in the meet on Monday.