Power struggle in the crisis-ridden Congress has intensified with one section demanding a new leadership structure, that former chief minister Siddaramaiah is said to be opposing fearing that it could undermine his position in the party.
One section of leaders has argued for separating two key posts - Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader and Leader of the Opposition (LoP), which are currently held by Siddaramaiah.
Siddaramaiah has tendered resignation from both positions owning moral responsibility for the party’s defeat in the recent bypolls, but the party high command is yet to take a call on it.
Siddaramaiah is understood to be wary that separating the two posts will reduce his clout in the party. Internally, Siddaramaiah is said to be arguing that the posts of CLP leader and LoP have always been intertwined and held by one person. Separating the two will create another power centre has been his line.
Siddaramaiah’s rival faction comprising leaders such as B K Hariprasad, G Parameshwara and K H Muniyappa is pitching for a model that exists in Maharashtra, where the CLP leader and LoP are not the same person.
“AICC president Sonia Gandhi has held talks with veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge on what should be done,” a source said.
It is said that the party high command could ask Siddaramaiah to continue as the LoP and appoint someone else as the CLP leader. This will curtail Siddaramaiah’s control over the party, his rival faction believes, as he will be confined to the Assembly.
The names of senior MLAs Parameshwara, H K Patil and others are doing the rounds for the post of the CLP leader.
The party is also witnessing intense lobbying for the post of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president, for which former ministers D K Shivakumar, M B Patil, among others are in the race.