BENGALURU: The Congress party, currently a full house with a Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president and as many as five working presidents, is being threatened by loud rumblings that certain castes and communities have been given prominence and others have been ignored.
While KPCC President D K Shivakumar and Working President R Ramalinga Reddy both hail from the prominent Vokkaliga community, senior leader HK Patil, appointed in-charge of Maharashtra, belongs to the Reddy community. Of the other working presidents, Satish Jarkiholi is an ST, Saleem Ahmed a minority, Eshwar Khandre is a Lingayat and R Dhruvanarayan is from SC Right. With the issue catching fire, sources in the party said that SC Left members are complaining that they have not got their due.
K H Muniyappa, who is from SC Left, holds no position of prominence and has only been accommodated as an invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC). Former opposition leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and former Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara are both SC Right.
Recently, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is also the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, had, in a series of tweets, pointed to this anomaly. Sources say this has benefited the BJP. SC Left members were hoping that either former minister H Anjaneya, R B Thimmapur, RS MP L Hanumanthayya or former MP BN Chandrappa would be accommodated in the KPCC, but that has not happened.
The other grouse is that while Siddaramaiah, a Kuruba, is opposition leader, many other small and large backward communities like the Idigas, Gangamasthas and others have been ignored. Sources point out that the Congress paid the price and lost the assembly polls because backward class votes shifted considerably away from the Congress. Backward classes represent more than 35 per cent of the electorate. They also cite former Chief Minister D Devaraj Urs, still considered a genius at in-house social engineering.
The issue, though, may have to be put on the back burner. Congress leader Siddaramaiah is scheduled to visit his constituency, Badami, for two days and check into a nature cure camp along the coast
for about 10-12 days, while D K Shivakumar is busy with preparations for his daughter’s marriage and reception this weekend. It remains to be seen if All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary in charge of Karnataka Randeep Surjewala hears out the detractors and accommodates them before
the stormy budget session begins.