State Cong focuses energy on setting house in order

The Karnataka unit of the Congress, which is searching for a new president, has decided not to fish in troubled waters of the state BJP. The main Opposition party is more keen on rebuilding its organisation.

Several senior leaders of the party, who held a meeting with former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru, are learnt to have communicated to the central leadership that their first priority will be strengthening the organisation, instead of desperate short-term ventures.

There is a realisation in the party that if the Congress tried to take advantage of the dissidence in the BJP and tried to destabilise the state government, the saffron party may go for mid-term polls.

The Congress feels that it is still not ready to face polls in the state and that the BJP has an upper hand especially after the Centre’s decisions like abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the National Register of Citizens in Assam. The party feels it is better to allow the BJP government to run for at least one year. The state leaders have communicated this to their central leadership.

Even when disgruntled BJP MLA from Hukkeri segment Umesh Katti met Siddaramaiah soon after the Cabinet expansion in third week of August, the former chief minister did not show much interest in encouraging him either to join Congress or engineer dissidence in BJP, it is learnt.

If the Assembly polls are held how, the Congress will find it difficult to win even half the number of seats it won in 2018, a party functionary felt.

At least one year is required to strengthen the organisation to make it battle-ready, the state leaders informed the leadership.

The party also has to find new office bearers. This may happen only after the new state president is appointed, sources in the party said.

The party will focus on strengthening its base in Southern Karnataka as many leaders feel that after the alliance with JD(S), several lower-rung leaders have migrated to the BJP. Since the JD(S) and Congress are political rivals in the old Mysuru region, the Congress has to repair the damage caused due to the alliance, said the leader.

After the alliance was formed, the BJP has strengthened its base in Mysuru, Chamarajnagar and Bengaluru Rural at the cost of the Congress, said the leader. The party has nevertheless decided to continue its heat on the Yediyurappa government.

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