BENGALURU: The bitter confrontation with former minister V Srinivasa Prasad and BJP’s concerted campaign to reach out to dalits has made the Congress high command rethink its plans to find a successor to G Parameshwara to head the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).
The party high command was earlier keen to have a Lingayat or Vokkaliga as KPCC president ahead of the 2018 election. The names of Energy Minister D K Shivakumar, the Vokkaliga strongman in the party, and former IT/BT minister S R Patil, a Lingayat, were being discussed as part of the party’s plans to expand its caste combination along with its traditional AHINDA (Kannada acronym for minorities, backwards and dalits) base.
The exit of senior dalit leader V Srinivasa Prasad, and his moves to play the ‘dalit victim’ card against Congress in the impending by-election for Nanjangud assembly constituency has added to the woes of Congress.
With BJP trying to tap the anti-Congress sentiments of dalits by organising mega rallies to woo SCs and STs, the Congress leadership is contemplating to retain Parameshwara as KPCC chief till the 2018 Assembly polls to retain its dalit base.
According to party sources, the issue had come up for discussion during Siddaramaiah and Parameshwara’s meeting with AICC General Secretary in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka, Digvijaya Singh, and the latter has responded positively.
Parameshwara, who completed six years as KPCC chief, who sees himself as a frontrunner in the ‘dalit CM for the state’ campaign, fell out of the race after he suffered a defeat in 2013 assembly poll. Though he made it to the Siddaramaiah cabinet, Parameshwara is said to have expressed his readiness to continue as KPCC chief, with long-term prospects in mind, even if that could force him to give up his ministerial berth.
Prasad set for show of strength on Nov 8
Mysuru: Former Minister V Srinivasa Prasad, who was dropped from the Cabinet, is set to organise a convention of his supporters in Nanjangud on Tuesday. Addressing mediapersons on Sunday, veteran leader and Prasad's close aide K R Mohan Kumar said 5,000 supporters will take part in the convention and based on their suggestions, the leader will take a call on his future move. "Dropping senior leader like Prasad from the Cabinet was not fair. It's sad that systematically dalits and those who strove hard for the Congress are being targeted. After Mallikarjun Kharge and Parameshwara, now it is the turn of Prasad," he regretted.