BENGALURU: Siddaramaiah, the only mass leader left in the Congress who can swing elections, is likely to be replaced as opposition leader. Sources said that the party is looking at an imminent change in leadership in Karnataka.
What has gone against Siddaramaiah is that his close supporters deserted the party and moved to the rebel camp, bringing the coalition government down, much to the displeasure of the high command. Leaders spoke of this in inner circles, and it may be recalled that Rahul Gandhi had tweeted that vested interests within the party had brought down the coalition government.
When the government collapsed, the central leadership started considering all options to keep the party relevant under the present circumstances.
The leaders under consideration are former Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar, former Deputy CM Dr G Parameshwara, and former RDPR Minister Krishna Byre Gowda. “In Congress, nothing is guaranteed till one is finally chosen. Even the name of former Speaker Ramesh Kumar was doing the rounds,” said a source.
The Congress central leadership has assigned the responsibility of picking the opposition leader to Rajya Sabha member Ghulam Nabi Azad. The party is looking for someone who will lift the party up to the 120-plus seat position. Shivakumar, Parameshwara and HK Patil are contenders for the post but whether they can lift the party to number one position is the question. Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga, helped the party win late CS Shivalli’s seat, Kundgol, in the bypolls, besides the Bellary parliamentary seat in the 2018 by-election. Shivakumar’s troubleshooting skills and crisis management were apparent during the 14-month tenure of the coalition government.
Dalit leader Parameshwara is a loyalist and it was under him that the party won win many seats in the 2013 assembly elections, but he missed becoming CM because he himself lost the election. Former minister HK Patil is a formidable leader on his home turf but his critics point out that he couldn’t help his own relative win the Haveri parliamentary seat.
When are you inducting ministers, Mr CM, asked the Congress, as Krishna Byre Gowda and the Congress Twitter handle tweeted that ministers are yet to be inducted into the cabinet. It’s been more than a week and there is only a one-man ministry, they taunted.