BENGALURU: Karnataka is grappling with the worst ever floods that have caused havoc in 17 out of 30 districts, but Congress that has ruled the state for many years was caught up in its own internal dilemma. The party has been leaderless ever since Rahul Gandhi quit as the Congress chief after the Lok Sabha poll debacle.
But on Saturday the grand old party announced that Sonia Gandhi will be the party chief for now.
None of the senior leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka
KC Venugopal, Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah and former Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara even visited many flood-hit areas to reconnect with people and reassure them of the party’s support at the time of crisis.
On Saturday, senior Congress leaders were busy with the process of selecting the new party president. “Gandhi family is important for the party. Without their leadership it is difficult for the party,” said former minister and senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar. Sources said that during the consultations at the party headquarters in New Delhi, all leaders, including those from Karnataka, are said to have insisted that Rahul Gandhi continues as the party chief, a party leader said.
The Congress in Karnataka, which is in total disarray after its humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and collapse of the coalition government, is looking for a strong leadership at the national level to bolster the sagging morale among party leaders and workers. Leadership deficit at the central level had a major impact on the party unit in the state, which is yet to recover from its poor show in 2018 assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Though Congress had emerged as the second largest party after the 2018 assembly elections, Congress was part of the coalition government headed by Janata Dal (Secular). The experiment worked only for 14 months, but it further weakened the party in the state. Many of its senior leaders lost during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and its tally hit an all-time low of just one. The coalition government too collapsed after many Congress MLAs turned rebels and helped BJP form the government.
Now, two weeks after the new government was formed, Congress is yet to announce names of leader of the opposition in the legislative assembly and council. While Siddaramaiah may be a natural choice, Parameshwara, who had worked as KPCC chief for eight years and Shivakumar are among the contenders for the post.