Cong faces dual task in bypoll, party rebuilding

Cong faces dual task in bypoll, party rebuilding

The embattled Congress has started the groundwork to prepare for the by-elections and the party’s grassroots cadre is in no mood to form an alliance with the JD(S) again, according to a top leader. 

As many as 17 by-elections are in the pipeline following the disqualification of the rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao has convened a meeting of senior party leaders on Thursday where the by-election issue will be discussed. “Senior leaders will be given the responsibility of visiting those Assembly segments to ascertain the party’s prospects,” a party leader said. “But clearly, our party workers at the grassroots level are extremely happy that the coalition with the JD(S) has ended.”  

The party also faces the challenge of finding candidates in many of the 14 Assembly segments where its own candidates had won before turning rebels. “They were strong candidates,” the leader said. “We will have to find alternative candidates now.” 

For instance, there is a concern within the party that it does not have candidates to replace rebels S T Somashekhar, Munirathna, B A Basavaraja and Pratapgouda Patil in Yeshwanthpur, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, K R Puram and Maski Assembly segments, respectively, among others.  

The fall of the coalition government has added to the Congress’ organisational woes. The 290-member Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) was dissolved so as to rebuild the party after the drubbing it received in the Lok Sabha polls. 

“Now that the coalition government is gone, we have to rework our plan on constituting a fresh committee,” Rao pointed out. 

The leadership may have to start from scratch the process of constituting a fresh Pradesh Congress Committee as it will now have to accommodate leaders who have lost power after the coalition’s downfall. 

The party leaders, who were ministers and appointed to various boards and corporations, will have to be placated with party positions.