BENGALURU: After the drubbing it received in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress has removed posters and banners of all its ‘mega’ leaders that once adorned walls and hoardings outside its headquarters in the state capital. The ‘whitewashed’ image of the party office indicates the grand old party’s current status; leaderless and rudderless. For a party that heavily depends on directions from Delhi, the virtually non-existent high command has only made matters worse.
In the state, the Congress seems to be in complete disarray as senior leaders openly question the style of functioning of the party’s top leadership. There is no sign of even fire fighting to end internal bickering. The old guard has openly rebelled against Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah and accused him of giving prominence to his followers in the ministry and distribution of tickets during LS polls.
Former minister R Roshan Baig did not mince words when he hit out at Siddaramaiah. He even refused to acknowledge the notice served on him. But the party is yet to crack the whip. After Baig, another former minister, Ramalinga Reddy hit out at the leadership. Reddy is upset as he is kept out of the ministry and was not taken into confidence during the LS polls. Many Congress and even JDS leaders too accused Siddaramaiah of failing to ensure proper coordination between the JDS and Congress, what they say is one of the major reasons for the poll debacle.
While Siddaramaiah’s leadership has come under fire, many see him as a leader of one of the many factions within the party. But who is in control of the entire party? Siddaramaiah, KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao or Deputy CM G Parameshwara? “They are clueless,” says political analyst Mohan Ram. “With the high command being virtually non-existent, the state unit is clueless about developments after LS polls. They have completely messed it up and only a miracle can save them,” he said.
According to him, the party cannot even claim credit for its candidates' performance during the recent Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections as those elections were fought on local issues. “The ULB results indicate that the party still has voters and workers, but they do not have leaders and the direction,” he added. Ironically, the Congress seems to be in dire-straits at a time when the JDS is carefully working on an image-building exercise by relaunching CM HD Kumaraswamy’s village stay programme. On the other side as well, the BJP seems to be working on further strengthening its base with former CM BS Yeddyurappa launching his state-tour to assess drought situation and take on the government.