Litmus test for KPCC chief Parameshwara's leadership

Litmus test for KPCC chief Parameshwara's leadership

The party is going to the polls under the leadership of G Parameshwara, who became the KPCC president two months ago. The poll results will be an indicator as to whether the change in leadership has worked for the party.

The Congress had strong roots in the rural areas all these years. Since the introduction of the Panchayat Raj system, the party had come to power in a majority of the rural local body bodies.

In the elections to panchayat bodies held in 2005, the Congress secured the highest number of seats in the 19 ZPs of the 27 which went to the polls. It had won in 488 of the total 1,005 ZP seats, while in the TPs, it had won 1,757 of the total 3,687 seats. But the Congress is not sure of retaining its hold in the local bodies this time.

Corruption charges
The Congress is focusing on corruption charges levelled against Chief Minister Yeddyurappa in its campaign. Besides, the leaders are alleging that the state had not been using the funds released by the Centre properly.

Unlike the scams of the Yeddyurappa government, the 2G scam of the UPA government has not yet become a topic for discussion in the villages, though villagers equate all politicians with corruption.

Factors that may not make the party emerge on top, in terms of the number of seats won, are many. Differences among leaders of the party and disappointment over selection of candidates have affected the confidence of the party workers at the grassroots level.

For example, in Chintamani, Congress MLA Dr Sudhakar chose to field his supporters as independent candidates for the local body polls, as he was not satisfied with Union Minister K H Muniyappa’s choice of candidates.

Similar differences in other aspects have prompted many Congressmen to leave the party and join the ruling BJP or the JD(S). Former chief minister S Bangarappa’s exit to join the JD(S) is expected to affect the Congress’ poll prospects in Shimoga and in parts of the coastal belt.

Padayatra to Bellary
The Congress wanted to revive the party by taking out a padayatra from Bangalore to Bellary against illegal mining. However, the impact was not visible in the by-elections to two Assembly seats after the padayatra.

Senior leaders Parameshwara, Siddaramaiah, Motamma and others have travelled across the state to campaign for the party. Their aim is to secure the second slot, for which the JD(S) is also making strong efforts.

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