KPCC top post becomes ‘seniors vs juniors’ contest

KPCC top post becomes ‘seniors vs juniors’ contest

KPCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao

The fight for the post of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president seems to have become polarised by way of a ‘seniors versus juniors’ contest.

A section of Congress MPs got into a huddle late on Wednesday night to mount pressure on the party to appoint “somebody senior” as the KPCC president, keeping the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in mind. This is to counter KPCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao, who has staked claimed for the top job.

MPs K H Muniyappa, B N Chandrappa, Prakash Hukkeri, L Hanumanthaiah, G C Chandrashekhar, M V Rajeev Gowda among others held talks with incumbent KPCC president G Parameshwara, who is also the deputy chief minister. They argued that Rao was not senior enough for the post. Muniyappa and AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad are also in the race.

Rao, however, rejected this notion. “Am I not serving as the working president? Haven’t I done well? I’ve also worked as a legislator and a minister. How does that make me a junior,” he told reporters.

The party must also deal with a demand that a leader from north Karnataka be given the KPCC president’s post. Yamakanamaradi MLA Satish Jarkiholi, one of the many disgruntled leaders who was not picked for the Cabinet, is leading this demand.

“The party high command reached out to me on the KPCC president’s post. I said I can’t take it up now because I have at least 10 years time for that,” Jarkiholi told reporters. “But the issue of giving the post to someone from north Karnataka was discussed,” he said, adding that the party discussed the names of former ministers M B Patil and Eshwar Khandre.

“North Karnataka has suffered injustice always. About 80% of our legislators get elected from there, whereas it’s only 20-40% from the south. Still, north Karnataka doesn’t get important posts,” he rued.

Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said the “natural choice” for the prime minister’s job was Congress president Rahul Gandhi if the party won the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. However, Parameshwara said more clarity was required on the united opposition that will fight the BJP.

“Issues (on who should be alliance partners) will be taken into consideration before a decision is made,” he said. “As Congressmen, we want Rahul Gandhi to become the next prime minister. The modern world requires somebody to understand the aspirations of the younger people.”