Not ready to alter Siddaramaiah hold: CLP leaders

CLP leader Siddaramaiah

The dearth of mass leaders in the Karnataka unit has forced the Congress top brass to fall back on old guard Siddaramaiah, for the post of the leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

The party had to agree to his request not to create a separate post of the Congress Legislature Party, to avoid a possible clash.

Despite the party leaders in national capital expressing strong reservations over the former chief minister's working style, they had no option but to appoint him for the key post, as the party is facing a tough challenge from BJP both at the state and national level, said a leader.

When Congress president Sonia Gandhi sent party general secretary Madhusudan Mistry to Bengaluru recently, it was Siddaramaiah who received the backing of the maximum number of legislators.

“The party found Siddaramaiah to be the only mass leader in the state unit, who can take on the BJP,” said a leader.

The party leaders in Delhi are also aware of complaints against the former chief minister by a section of senior leaders about giving too much importance to his loyalists and conceding to him too much control over the organisation. Two of his loyalists Dinesh Gundu Rao and Eshwar Khandre are already serving as president and working president, respectively, of state unit.

Only leader who had the potential to be an alternative to Siddaramaiah was former Minister D K Shivakumar, but he is now in jail in the money-laundering case.

While appointing Siddaramaiah to the key post, the top brass conveyed to him that he should take all leaders along, without giving scope for dissident activities, said the leader.

The party is said to have removed him from member of Congress Working Committee (CWC), a highest decision making body of the organisation, as a message to him that his role is confined to state. The party is likely to appoint either G Parameshwara or H K Patil as member of the CWC to compensate them.

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