Congress leaders: We want a ‘full-time warrior’ to head party for polls

Source: The Hindu | By Arfa Kazia | Published on 19th April 2017, 5:30 PM | State News |

Bengaluru: With the Assembly elections less than a year away, the State Congress leaders are mounting pressure on the party’s central leadership to appoint a full-time president for the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party and the so-called ‘Modi-wave’. They want the uncertainty over who will head the party in the State to be over by April-end.

This is the persistent demand of a section of senior leaders, even as the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, Digvijaya Singh, has categorically stated at G. Parameshwara would be KPCC president till the conclusion of the general organisational elections in the State in 2018.

During discussions with Mr. Singh, who arrived in the city on Monday night, several senior leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, former Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily and even Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, have apparently sought a full-time president.

Speaking to The Hindu , a couple of Congress leaders said the KPCC urgently needs “a full-time warrior, not a part-time monarch” to steer the party’s campaign for 2018. “The present KPCC chief cannot hold both the Home Ministry portfolio and run the party as the State is going to the polls next year,” a senior leader said.

Mr. Parameshwara has completed six years in office as KPCC chief.

“We have told the party high command to revamp the KPCC from block to State level. We have asked Mr. Singh to take a decision in a month on whether to continue with Mr. Parameshwara,” Mr. Moily said. According to sources, the central leadership is expected to take a final decision by the end of the month.

‘Not a vacant post’

However, Mr. Singh told reporters that the post of KPCC president is “not vacant at present” and that Mr. Parameshwara would continue to hold it. But if there is any need to change, the AICC will take a decision in consultation with senior leaders of the party, he added.

Though there are several contenders for the post, Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar is the front-runner. However, Mr. Siddaramaiah is said to be more in favour of a Lingayat leader from north Karnataka for the post, with the intention of garnering the dominant community votes in the elections.

Meanwhile, Mr. Parameshwara said there are many people capable of becoming the KPCC president, but the party “is more important than personal ego”. Mr. Shivakumar said he has “not applied for the post”.

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