BENGALURU: Lobbying has started in the Congress for vacancies at various levels in the party.
As numbers stand, Congress will win two MLC seats of the seven for which elections will be held. JDS will win one seat. One of the seats has to be given to a minority member because three minorities -- Nasir Ahmed, Abdul Jabbar and Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi -- are set to retire.
The reading is that one of them will be retained and the other seat could be allocated to the Backward Classes category. The frontrunners are former minister HM Revanna and AICC secretary NS Bose Raj.
In states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, where office-bearers were appointed under the new scheme just as in Karnataka, the formula is 1+5 -- meaning one state president and five working presidents. By that yardstick, there are two vacancies of working presidents. Lobbying is on for those positions too, with KPCC president DK Shivakumar being Vokkaliga and three working presidents from other communities -- Eshwar Khandre (Lingayat), Saleem Ahmed (Muslim) and Satish Jarkiholi (ST). The two remaining positions could be filled up by a BC member and an SC member.
Congress will go by the principle of social justice. With Shivakumar taking charge as president, there will be a dual power centre system after a long time. Earlier, it was Siddaramaiah running the show because former KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao was his nominee, and all decisions were virtually unilateral. But Congress sources pointed out that Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar can only make recommendations, and it is for the high command to finally decide. They will aim at unity and opt for a candidate who will not divide the party.
The other key vacancy is a lone Rajya Sabha seat. Although there are two retirees -- Dr Rajeev Gowda and BK Hariprasad -- the man emerging a clear favourite is former Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge. But Congress sources did not rule out Hariprasad getting renominated because the Rajya Sabha vacancy is for a Backward Caste (BC) or Scheduled Caste (SC).
L Hanumanthaiah is already in the Rajya Sabha, and by accommodating Kharge, they will take one position out of the BC bowl. Similarly, if Rajeev Gowda is renominated, it will mean that the Congress is sending two Vokkaligas to the RS, since JDS requires Congress support, and the only options before the party are former PM H D Deve Gowda or sitting RS MP Kupendra Reddy.