BENGALURU: When senior leaders of Congress such as M B Patil and H K Patil publicly rebelled against the party high command for not being included in the coalition cabinet, Dinesh Gundu Rao — a five-time MLA from Gandhinagar — was unperturbed. A Congress loyalist, Rao pacified miffed leaders despite being uncertain of his own future in the coalition. Patience and his work as a skilled organisational manager, all paid off when he was appointed the KPCC president. Dinesh Gundu Rao, one of the three sons of former chief minister and another Congress loyalist Gundu Rao, is an undefeated legislator from Gandhinagar since 1999.
Rao has worked in various capacities in the Congress in his political life, including as Bengaluru District Congress president, AICC spokesperson and until Wednesday, KPCC working president. Married to Tabassum, his personal choices have been used by parties like the BJP to malign him and his family but the Congress chief has turned it around every time in his stride. Hailing from a Brahmin community, his appointment as KPCC chief may have surprised many but party insiders are ecstatic.
His contemporaries like Krishna Byre Gowda and Priyank Kharge have backed Dinesh for the post. His appointment comes at a time when AICC Chief Rahul Gandhi has been focusing on bringing the next generation of Congress leaders to the fore. “Rahul Gandhi has been focusing on encouraging the generation that is close to him in terms of age. Despite discomfort among senior leaders of the party, the focus is on promoting next generation of Congress leaders,” said Dr Sandeep Shastri, psephologist and pro-VC of Jain University.
Dinesh Gundu Rao beat the likes of M B Patil, S R Patil (both backed by former CM Siddaramaiah), H K Patil, K H Muniyappa, D K Shivakumar and B K Hariprasad who were in the race for the top post. Eshwar Khandre, who expressed dissent over not being accommodated into the coalition cabinet, was appointed as working president of the KPCC.