BANGALORE: Former Lok Sabha member from Mysore H Vishwanath on Sunday raised the pitch for the ‘Bring Priyanka’ campaign in Congress. He is said to have made a strong plea that the party reins be handed over to Priyanka Gandhi to revive its fortunes after the drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha election.
Vishwanath raised the issue at the two-day introspection meeting of the Congress, which concluded on Sunday. However, the senior leader had to face strong rebuke and protest from Youth Congress activists when he openly said that Rahul Gandhi cannot be expected to lead the party effectively.
According to a party leader, Vishwanath said, “Rahul may be a party leader, but Priyanka is a mass leader. People have not accepted his leadership in the Lok Sabha election. Priyanka should be brought in to lead from the front.”
Rahul’s supporters, led by state Youth Congress president Rizwan Arshad, raised slogans against Vishwanath. While Vishwanath’s views drew applause from a section of the gathering, many leaders had to intervene to prevent the situation from taking an ugly turn.
Addressing the meet, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tried to play down the incident, saying, “Vishwanath has expressed his personal views on Priyanka. Sonia and Rahul are our leaders. Priyanka is a member of the Nehru family. We have great respect for her too.”
Rajasekharan Faces Strong Objection
Senior Congress leader M V Rajasekharan’s efforts to raise the demand for making KPCC president G Parameshwara the deputy CM drew strong objection. Even as Rajasekharan tried to raise the issue, he was shouted down. The gathering protested against pushing a personal agenda as the meeting was convened to discuss ways to strengthen the party.
The KPCC president appealed to the gathering not to make it an issue and said the party high command will take a decision in this regard.
Congress workers from Gulbarga and Bidar caused further embarrassment for the leaders as they protested against pictures of Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress floor leader in the Lok Sabha, missing on the banners put up at Palace Grounds, the venue of the meeting. The protesters calmed down only after appeals from the leaders not to make it a big issue.