Cong wants Siddaramaiah to contest LS polls

Siddaramaiah. DH Photo.

Pressure is mounting on former chief minister Siddaramaiah to enter national politics.

The Congress leadership is said to be asking Siddaramaiah to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, which is crucial for the party to come to power at the Centre. The central leadership considers him “Lok Sabha material” and a force to reckon with, sources in the KPCC said.

The sources said Congress president Rahul Gandhi is impressed with the political acumen of Siddaramaiah, who headed the party campaign in the Karnataka Assembly polls. Siddaramaiah managed to get 80 seats for the party despite the anti-incumbency factor. Besides, Siddaramaiah played a key role in keeping the BJP away from power by forging an alliance with the JD(S).

This was the reason the party rewarded him, by making him a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body. “At the recent CWC meeting, Siddaramaiah spoke at length on the need for the Congress to join hands with like-minded parties. When Ashok Gehlot asked him to cut the speech short, Rahul intervened and asked Siddaramaiah to continue. Such is the confidence the high command has in Siddaramaiah,” the sources said.

Besides, the party has given him two other key positions - Congress Legislature Party leader and coalition coordination and monitoring committee chairperson. He has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the party gains maximum from the coalition government.

The Congress leadership is of the view that Siddaramaiah contesting the Lok Sabha polls will boost the morale of the party workers. It is speculated that he will contest either from Koppal or Mysore-Kodagu parliamentary constituency if he yields to the pressure. He had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls in 1991 from Koppal constituency that is dominated by the Kuruba community.

However, Siddaramaiah is said to be reluctant to enter the national politics. He recently stated that he has no plans to contest the parliamentary polls. Siddaramaiah’s close followers are learnt to have advised him to continue in the state politics so that he gets another chance to become the chief minister.

It is learnt that the party has asked Siddaramaiah to lie low after his letters to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy were seen as an attempt by him to make  functioning difficult for the Congress-JD(S) coalition. The former chief minister is keeping a low profile ever since the leak of his locker-room talk videos in June, where he was heard chiding Kumaraswamy for wanting to present a full-fledged budget and questioning the longevity of the Congress-JD(S) coalition, created political ripples.

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Cong wants Siddaramaiah to contest LS polls

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