Cong deploys veterans to end party's leadership crisis

Senior Congress leaders Madhusudan Mistry and Bhakta Charan Das were deployed here by the high command on Thursday to gather opinions from the party’s state unit to resolve the leadership crisis. 

The two held talks with over 50 state leaders on the way forward, especially after former chief minister Siddaramaiah tendered his resignation as Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader and Leader of the Opposition, owning moral responsibility for the party’s dismal performance in the recent byelections. 

Dinesh Gundu Rao followed suit by stepping down as the KPCC president. 

Mistry and Das met several leaders, including Siddaramaiah, D K Shivakumar, B K Hariprasad, H K Patil, K B Koliwad, among many others. 

According to sources, a section of leaders backed Shivakumar, Patil and G Parameshwara, to be given bigger responsibilities in the party.

“We said these are three names of leaders who can be considered. But who should be given what responsibility is up to the party high command to decide,” one leader said. 

While Shivakumar is said to be in the race to become the next KPCC president, the party may consider senior legislators to be appointed as leader of the Opposition and the CLP leader. 

Alternatively, the party may choose to ask Siddaramaiah to continue as LoP, while appointing a senior MLA as senior leader.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Mistry and Das, Patil said the change in the party’s state leadership should ideally happen around New Year. “You can’t leave the party in a vacuum for too long, given the issues that are there,” Patil said. “I have shared my opinions keeping the party’s interests in mind.”

Clamour for change in leadership has grown louder within the Congress, with Siddaramaiah having accrued a bad opinion for himself with a section of leaders criticising him for “unilateral decisions.” Even Rao was accused of following Siddaramaiah’s footsteps in decision-making.

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