NEW DELHI: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has urged Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah to speed up probe into the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, fearing a negative fallout of the high-profile case in the poll-bound state.
Congress sources acknowledge that a quick probe leading to arrest of Lankesh’s killers could have given a much needed leg up to the Siddaramaiah government. Gandhi’s top advisers have conveyed her concern to Siddaramaiah as the party chief wants to avoid the “poor” law and order tag on the state government, which will have to face voters in around six months time.
The Congress is pitched against an aggressive BJP, which has been charging the state government over law and order situation. They point out suicide of two police officers—Chikkamagaluru DSP Kalappa Handibagh and Mangaluru DSP M K Ganapathi—allegedly over harassment by seniors, last year. The way the government handled the molestation of women by New Year revellers this year had angered people, especially urban voters.
In May this year, a complaint against the CM and several ministers was filed with state Lokayukta over alleged corruption in transfer of police officers. Internal surveys have revealed that Congress faces a strong anti-incumbency ahead of the polls. A divided state BJP unit is the only solace of AICC strategists. State unit chief G Parameshwara, who had held the home portfolio for long, was replaced with Ramalinga Reddy in the Cabinet reshuffle this month. The delay in the Lankesh probe could also trigger an inner party enmity against the CM. Parameshwara has been challenging him for the last four years.