Cong to hold meet on Oct 9; race for opp leader hots up

Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah (R), along with Congress legislators. (AFP Photo)

Congress in Karnataka would hold its legislature party meeting on Wednesday to strategize its action-plan for the upcoming legislative session, even as the race to the post of Leader of Opposition in the state assembly intensified from within.

At a meeting called by the leader of the Congress Legislature Party Siddaramaiah, legislators are likely to discuss the damage caused by floods and relief measures undertaken by the government, cut in the allocation of funds to constituencies represented by party MLAs, and also drought in the state, among others, sources said.

The session is scheduled for three days from October 10 to 12 at 'Vidhana Soudha', the state secretariat here. However, there is no clarity on whether there would be any discussion about the Leader of Opposition in the assembly, at the meeting on Wednesday, and whether there would be any decision taken on who would occupy the post ahead of the session from October 10. The race to the post has gained momentum, as factions have emerged within the party both in favour and opposing Siddaramaiah, who is seen as a key contender.

A party functionary said senior leader Madhusudan Mistry, who was sent by the party high command to solicit opinion of local leaders regarding the post of the Leader of the opposition and a few other key posts, was believed to have submitted the report to the leadership in Delhi and there was a possibility of a decision ahead of the session.

While another party source said, there was also the possibility of it being decided at a later stage, looking at the stiff competition for the post.

With this being a short session for three days, there is opinion to take a decision after wider consultation soon after, and not to 'hurry', sources added.

Since B S Yediyurappa took over as the Chief Minister of Karnataka in July following the fall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, the post of the opposition leader has been vacant.

With Congress now the principal opposition party in the assembly, the position goes to it.

Mistry had on Sunday spent the entire day holding one-on-one consultations regarding who should lead the party in the assembly- the most contentious one, along with the opposition leader in the council, deputy leaders and chief whips in both Houses.

Though Siddaramaiah as CLP leader is seen as the primary contender for the post, several senior party leaders including G Parameshwara, H K Patil are said to be opposed to it, and themselves are eyeing for the post.

On Sunday, as a show of strength, a large group of party legislators had met Mistry, to make a case for Siddaramaiah as the opposition leader.

Speaking to a local news channel, Siddaramaiah too had said in his personal opinion CLP leader should be the opposition leader and it has been the tradition in the state so far, but the high command has to take a call this time.

This even as few old guards of the party who met Mistry, pushed for candidates other than Siddaramaiah, not wanting all the key posts to rest with the former Chief Minister.

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