Cong may get a Rane in Karnataka too

New Delhi, Aug 4 | Updated: Aug 5 2005, 05:30am hrs
With the election of Karnatakas revenue minister MP Prakash as Janata Dal (S) legislature party leader replacing the state deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday, the Congress hopes to find a Narayan Rane in the state also.

The state Congress leaders have discussed the issue with party president Sonia Gandhi. Though they have sought her permission to initiate a dialogue with Mr Siddaramaiah she is not in favour of parting ways with the faction led by former prime minister HD Deve Gowda.

However, a senior functionary said the party might bow down to pressure from legislators after guaging the situation there.

Those who attended the meeting with Ms Gandhi argued that like Mr Rane in Maharashtra, Mr Siddaramaiah might be a valuable catch in Karnataka which would widen the partys base among the backward classes.

Though the ousted leader has not unveiled his future strategy whether he would form a new outfit or join the Congress, party stalwarts believe he will give in to the pressure from local Congress leaders.

Moreover, the Congress may also benefit from a sympathy wave in his favour.

When contacted, All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary and MP from Karnataka BK Hariprasad said, If Mr Siddaramaiah joins Congress he should be welcomed. His entry into the party will give the party an added strength as Mr Siddaramaiah will be a good challenge for SP leader S Bangarappa in the regional politics.

According to political experts, Mr Siddaramaiah faced humiliation many times at the hands of Mr Gowdas son HD Kumaraswamy. In fact, the rift between the two factions of the party is due to Mr Kumaraswamy. Like Narayan Rane faced humiliation at the hands of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackerays son, Uddhav Thackeray, Mr Siddaramaiah also met with the same treatment at the hands of Mr Gowdas son.