Senior Congmen keep off meeting with state incharge

Only a handful of leaders like KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao, former minister Krishna Byre Gowda, leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, former chief minister M Veerappa Moily and KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre were present at a meeting called by

AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal got a feel of the dissent within the party when senior leaders refused to meet him on Tuesday evening. 

After holding a meeting to discuss the December 5 bypolls, Venugopal had made himself available for senior leaders to meet him at the Kumara Krupa guest house. 

But the likes of G Parameshwara, H K Patil, B K Hariprasad, K H Muniyappa, G C Chandrashekhar, Syed Naseer Hussain among others chose not to meet him, in what was their way of registering protest against the goings-on in the party. 

Venugopal found an audience in only those leaders identified with Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah’s camp.

Leaders who “boycotted” Venugopal are those who have voiced their angst against the state leadership, especially Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao. In fact, Siddaramaiah was appointed as Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Legislative Assembly despite protests by this section of leaders that has accused him of taking unilateral decisions. 

“We were merely informed that Venugopal will be available. We chose not to go,” a senior leader told DH. “Venugopal was in the city to meet  Parameshwara, who is facing I-T raids. But because he didn’t want that to be seen as the sole reason for his visit, this meeting was set up,” the leader rued.

'Not consulted on bypolls'

Like in the past, some senior leaders have charged that the Siddaramaiah faction has readied a list of candidates to be fielded in the bypolls without consulting them. “They’re not at all serious about the bypolls.” 

The leadership of Siddaramaiah, the Congress’ poster boy in Karnataka, has come under scrutiny ever since the party lost the 2018 Assembly polls under his charge as chief minister. His credibility was questioned further after the party’s drubbing in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition. 

Earlier this month, former union minister K H Muniyappa and Rajya Sabha member Hariprasad led the charge against Siddaramaiah during a meeting chaired by AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, which is seen as a tussle between the “natives” and “outsiders” within the Congress. Siddaramaiah was with the JD(S) till 2005. 

Some leaders are also miffed with Venugopal’s conduct, in that he is seen as backing Siddaramaiah. “All these complaints have already reached Rahul Gandhi’s office,” another leader pointed out.

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