Siddaramaiah meets Sonia, bats for Patil as KPCC chief

Siddaramaiah meets Sonia Gandhi, bats for M B Patil as KPCC chief

File DH photo of former chief minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi as the party is set to rejig its state unit after the disastrous outing in the Assembly bypolls.

Siddaramaiah, who had also put in his papers as the leader of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) after the bypoll result, is learnt to have made a strong pitch for a Lingayat leader as the next president of the state Congress, indicating at senior leader M B Patil.

There were indications that the Congress leadership could continue with Siddaramaiah as the leader of the CLP and Leader of the Opposition and announce a new state president to succeed Dinesh Gundu Rao.

Besides Gandhi, Siddaramaiah met senior leaders A K Antony, Ahmed Patel and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal. He extended his stay in Delhi by a day as a meeting with Rahul Gandhi did not materialise on Tuesday.

The Congress president is known to have expressed displeasure over the growing factionalism in the state unit and counselled Siddaramaiah to take everyone along.

Senior leader D K Shivakumar, M B Patil, Krishna Byre Gowda, K H Muniyappa, H K Patil and Satish Jarkiholi are considered to be in the reckoning for the post of the KPCC president.

Patel is learnt to have supported Shivakumar for KPCC president, but party observers said that Siddaramaiah's choice could prevail, considering that Patil hails from North Karnataka where Congress is aiming to counter the BJP.

Senior state leaders R V Deshpande, M B Patil, Zameer Ahmed, Byrati Basavraj and Raghavendra Itnal, Ashok Pattan, Ivan D'souza are camping in the national capital along with Siddaramaiah.