Congress selection meeting turns stormy

Heated exchanges are said to have ensued between KPCC president G Parameshwara and Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday over the selection of party candidates for the Assembly elections in Karnataka.

The two leaders termed the reports as baseless and said there were no differences between them. AICC in charge for Karnataka Madhusudan Mistry also dismissed the reports. “The reports have no basis whatsoever. It was fed intentionally in order to create a vicious atmosphere,” he said.

Informed party sources, however, said the two leaders had heated arguments during the meeting of the AICC screening committee. While Siddaramaiah was keen that tickets be given to those belonging to his Kuruba community and other backward classes, Parameshwara was interested in giving more tickets to the dalits and minorities.

At one stage, Parameshwara supposedly suggested that they should give more weight to views of those leaders who have influence in different regions. He said prominence in the selection of candidates from Old Mysore region should be given to S M Krishna and Siddaramaiah, that in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region to Mallikarjun Kharge and Dharam Singh, the Mumbai-Karnataka to R V Deshpande and H K Patil and coastal region to Oscar Fernandes and Janardhana Poojari. Siddaramaiah opposed this suggestion saying if that was the case, there was no point in he being a member of the screening committee. At this point, Union minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh, a member of the committee, intervened and calmed the two leaders.

Appearing before the media, the two leaders said they were working unitedly in the interest of Karnataka and the Congress party. Said Parameshwara: “Some sections of the media had been carrying news reports that there were differences of opinion between the two of us. We have good co-ordination between us. These reports must have emanated from those inimical to the interests of Congress and it is regrettable.” Siddaramaiah echoed Parameshwara’s views and stressed that there was no basis for these reports.

Former minister D K Shivakumar was angry over Parameshwara as, according to him, Vokkaligas have been sidelined in the selection of candidates.

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