BENGALURU: Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s attempt to push his confidant MB Patil’s name for the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president’s post has not gone down well with many senior leaders in the state. Many see it as an attempt by the former CM to retain his hold over the party in the state after the proposed revamp.
Patil and former minister DK Shivakumar are frontrunners for the party’s top post, and the central leadership is likely to make an announcement in the next few days.
“How will making Patil party president help? It is not right to say that just by making Patil KPCC chief we will help the party get support from the Lingayat community,” said a former minister and a senior leader from the Lingayat community. “The community is strongly backing BS Yediyurappa, and many are unhappy with Patil’s role in the campaign for a separate religion status for the community,” he added.
In last assembly as well as the Lok Sabha elections, the dominant Lingayat community in North Karnataka had largely backed Yediyurappa and the BJP. The party had won all the LS seats in Lingayat-dominated North Karnataka in 2019, and had done well in the 2018 assembly elections too.
Sources said Siddaramaiah, in his interactions with central leaders, had proposed Patil’s name, citing that it would help the party to woo the community. Party president Sonia Gandhi is said to have informed Siddaramaiah that they will take a decision soon, asking him to cooperate with the new president.
“By suggesting Patil’s name, Siddaramaiah’s position will further weaken,” said another senior Congress leader, who had recently met party president Sonia Gandhi.
Sources said the Lingayat community was upset with Patil’s role in a very aggressive campaign demanding a separate religion status for the community, which had dented the Congress’s prospects in the 2018 assembly polls. By appointing him as head of the state unit, the party will not be able to get the community’s support, sources said.
However, the party’s central leadership is trying to bring in consensus among state leaders before taking any decisions. KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah had sent in their resignations to the high command after Congress’ humiliating defeat in the assembly bypolls. The party is yet to accept the resignations.