Bickering in state Congress comes to fore at interactive meeting

Bickering in state Congress comes to fore at interactive meeting

The Congress’ move to interact with the district-level leaders appears to have proved that all is not well in the state unit of the ruling party.

A factional feud and a rift among the party leaders in Kalaburagi, Koppal and Ballari districts came to the fore when AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday held discussions with the Congress legislators and the party leaders from the Kalaburagi division.

Sources in the Congress said the party leaders from Ballari complained that differences between Labour Minister Santosh Lad, who is also the district incharge Minister, and Anil Lad, MLA were taking a toll on the party in the district. The party workers are demoralised due to this reason. Moreover, former minister G Janardhana Reddy is becoming active in the district. If appropriate steps are not taken immediately, the party will not be able to win even two seats in the next elections, the leaders from Ballari are learnt to have warned.

Senior legislators from the erstwhile undivided Kalaburagi district, Dr A B Maalakaraddy and Malikayya V Guttedar, who are sulking, did not attend the meeting. Siddaramaiah is learnt to have pulled up the district in-charge Minister Dr Sharan Prakash Patil in this regard. The two legislators are upset with Siddaramaiah for not making them ministers. Speculation is rife in the party that they may quit the Congress in the coming days.

On Monday, the factional feud in Belagavi Congress unit had come to the fore. Ramesh Jarkiholi and his brother Satish Jarkiholi had indulged in a heated argument in front of Venugopal and Siddaramaiah, causing immense embarrassment to the party.

Satish meets Rahul
Satish, who met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, told reporters in New Delhi that he discussed the party affairs and strategy to be adopted in the next Assembly polls with him.

“I want the party leadership to control the activities of Ramesh Jarkiholi and his younger brother Lakhan. Otherwise, I will decide my future destination. The same has been conveyed to the party top brass,” he said.

In Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah admitted that the Jarkiholi brothers fought with each other at the meeting on Monday, but he immediately retracted his statement. “They have not complained against me to Rahul Gandhi. They had gone to Delhi to take part in an ST leaders’ conference and they met him on its sidelines.”

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