The Congress has decided to continue with G Parameshwara as party’s Karnataka unit president, rejecting state chief minister Siddaramaiah’s wish to appoint a Lingayat leader to the post, Indian Express reported today. However, while deciding not to give any free hand to the Chief Minister, with the state going to polls next year, the party has appointed a leader of his choice as working president.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who held consultations with around 18 leaders from the state to resolve the leadership issue, asked Parameshwara to continue but resign as a minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet.
While appointing, SK Patil as a working president, the party handed over the reins of the campaign to D K Shivakumar, who was also an aspirant for the state party president’s post, the report said.
Congress has also made clear that the Assembly polls, which is due next year in May, will be “fought under the leadership” of Siddaramaiah. The party, in its attempt for the balancing act, inducted former Union Minister K H Muniyappa into the Congress Working Committee as a special invitee while Satish Jarkiholi was made an AICC secretary, the daily said.
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Earlier, there were rumours that Jarkiholi is likely to join the Janata Dal (Secular) as he was unhappy with the party after being removed from the state Cabinet. Siddaramaiah wanted either SK Patil or MB Patil to be appointed as the state Congress president, to replace Parameshwara. Both leaders are from the Lingayat community and the Chief Minister felt a Lingayat as party president would set right the caste calculus, the report further said.
The party already has a working president in Dinesh Gundugao in the state. A statement by AICC said Gundurao will take care of party affairs in southern Karnataka, while Patil will be in charge of northern Karnataka. “Parameshwara will continue to be the PCC president but devote his full time and energy in discharging responsibilities of the party president,” an AICC statement said.