State Congress leaders came under fire from AICC general secretary in charge of party affairs in the Karnataka, K C Venugopal, for their “intemperate statements” on the choice of the next chief minister if the party is voted to power again in the forthcoming election. Venugopal has issued gag orders to party leaders and legislators on talking about the issue and instructed them to just concentrate on winning the polls. The issue figured prominently at the special Congress Legislature Party meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the presence of Venugopal on Friday.
As many senior Congress leaders are aspiring to become CM and are issuing contradictory statements as to who should be the next CM, Venugopal warned legislators not to indulge in speculation over the choice. He reiterated the party’s stand that the election will be fought under the leadership of Siddaramaiah. Venugopal’s gag orders have come in the wake of Siddaramaiah’s claim that he will continue as CM if the party is voted back to power. The statement had not gone down well with many senior leaders including KPCC president G Parameshwara.
According to sources, Venugopal conveyed the message that the controversy created by the statements of leaders was unnecessary and fraught with serious consequences for the party’s prospects as it is leading to groupism and infighting within. He instructed the legislators and leaders to maintain unity, work hard and take the government’s programmes to the doorsteps of each household in their constituencies to ensure the party’s victory. He warned of stringent action against those who continue to rake up the issue of next chief minister. Siddaramaiah, who chaired the CLP meeting, said booth level committees have been formed and the district-level conventions will be organised to galvanise party workers.